Product Update - Valve
- Fixed unit selection boxes on Lycan wolves and Dragon Knight's Dragon Form with some cosmetic items.
- Fixed unit selection boxes on Dire Barracks to match the size of the Radiant Barracks.
- Fixed the Fall Compendium attempting to re-download.
PC Gamer
Image: The Arrray of Tranquility set for Windranger.

Every two weeks, PC Gamer Pro takes your deepest, most personal Dota questions and delivers them to the personalities that can help. You can find last week's set right here. This week, PyrionFlax talks in-game voice, the removal of guilds, right clicking exactly one time, and why your MMR is probably right even though you don t want it to be.

If you'd like to send us a question for next week, email with 'GAME IS HARD' in your subject line. It would be awesome if it was either (a) not a tech support query directed at Valve or (b) not about why your MMR is wrong.

Ted 'Pyrionflax' Forsyth

Pyrion s life as a Dotaman began with his expertly illustrated, pro-quality hero guides and continued through an announcer pack and subsequent appearances at pretty much every Dota event on the planet. We once played in a games industry Dota tournament together, which is notable for this moment, possibly shane s finest hour (warning: NSFW language.) Pyrion currently has a new Dota 2 series in the works, Lanin n Complainin with TotalBiscuit.

Twitter @pyrionflax Twitch pyrionflax

From Marina:

I've got a question regarding communication: I'm a girl and I'm completely terrified of using the in-game mic, as I've had a couple of matches completely ruined because of that. I usually just type in chat my intentions but I don't feel like that's enough. I just really, really want to win a match, but my teammates are busy throwing games and calling me names instead of cooperating. Do you have any advice for that?

PCG: I want to return to this topic when I ve been able to bring in the viewpoints of more female players, but I figured it was worth discussing here too.

PyrionFlax: I ve played Dota in solo queue when there s been a girl and it s been exactly as she described. I ve also played where it hasn t made a difference because we re in a five-stack and we re not dicks. The idea that she deserves to be called out because she s a woman is bullshit. I hope that for the most part it s kids doing it. I have no idea how to overcome it except to hope that those people mature into something a bit more decent. It s bullshit. You wouldn t do that in your day-to-day life. Just because you re on the internet, let s not turn into arseholes.

Sadly, she s just going to have to hope that eventually it stops happening. What s she going to do? Get a voice modulator and hope that she sounds like a dude? Perhaps she should do that—get some bass in her voice, like when people call up for a ransom. I AM GANKING TOP LANE , something like that. But the best thing I can suggest is to play with friends, not with strangers. There are good communities out there -  DotaNoobs is a good community. I point a lot of people at this community, a lot of people play in this community, a lot of women play in this community, you will be welcome.

PCG: If voice chat is a write-off because of the regular community, what are the most effective ways to use chat? I wrote something about this last week, but is there some other magic trick?

PFlax: Just use the chat wheel and if anybody complains, say you don t have a microphone. Most of the things people say in Dota don t need to be said—they re self-evident. If you ping to smoke, people get that. If you buy a smoke, people get that. You can convey what you need to. Loads of pro players manage to play without using in-game chat very much, so it is possible—I d just say that I m sorry that her experience in-game has been shitty, and good luck.

PCG: Very different tack, now. This person writes to us with a subject line that is just the word GUILDS?! I am not fully sure that he knows what is happening.

From Marian:

I don't understand why you have disabled guild from Dota 2. I was a member of one of the best guilds in the world at Dota 2. It was called Minimis created by Baumi. It had around 4000 members. There were discussions and many other things like creating new teams, new friendships, new strategies so on. It is a nice patch but I had a bug like seeing a Storm Spirit walking in his ulti. I wish to have guild on this patch. Thank you! Have a nice day!

PFlax: First of all, I apologise for removing guilds from the game. It was my call. I code Dota 2. Secretly, I m IceFrog and so on.

I actually spoke to Bruno about this and he said, and I quote, people aren t using it. I said that all of the streamers I know use it, and he said that we must be the only ones. Like, there are ten million people playing Dota and most of the guilds are based around a few community people whose viewers want a guild. There may be a few others but on the whole, guild chat was just not something that was being used according to Valve. Although your experience was different to theirs, I m sure they ve done the numbers on it. As far as I m aware they have no intention of adding guilds back in.

It s screwed me over because I used to do sub games a lot, I could add people from the guild and now I have to use Steam groups and it s a pain in the arse. So I apologise for removing them, but I assure you I wouldn t have done it if I had anything to do with it.

PCG: It feels like the weakness in saying nobody s using it, so let s cut it is when the 1% that are using it represent the most engaged players.

PFlax: I completely agree. I wish they hadn t—I used it every single day. You had all of these communities. It s almost like they want to minimise that part of it—you saw, when Reborn came out, that the friends bit was tiny! It was all about your feed , which is garbage. I ve got Twitter for that kind of shit. I m in London chat now. I don t want to be in London chat. I want guilds. I m in London 14, where all they do is talk about which area of London is the shittest.

PCG: You should see the Bristol chat, it s bouncing.

From Alexey:

My question is why Windranger's shackleshot doesn't count as assist??? I really like this hero, have about 400 games played as Windranger and I've faced this situation more than once: I stun enemy hero for 3.5 sec, my teammate solo kills him and gets all the gold. Its unfair you know, without my stun he never could have a chance to kill enemy, and I don't even get f*ckng assist gold!!!

PFlax: I m pretty sure you need to do damage to get an assist, so shoot him once. If he s shackled for 3.5 seconds, shoot him once. Problem solved. Boom.

PCG: Yeah. What was he doing all that time?

PFlax: Just help out! Shoot him!

PCG: Right click once is the answer to this question.

Okay, this is a long one.

From Ayan:

I've been into Dota since the DotA 1 days. Ever since the MMR thing came out  I've been grinding matches on my smurf to get myself on a 'decent' bracket. But the thing that worries me is when I hear my friends claiming that the MMR system is broken and it needs to be fixed.

Actually I didn't give it much thought until I started to realize this myself. I got calibrated at 4.4k in my smurf and every time I reach 4.7k I seem to get into a losing streak back to 4.2k and then again on a winning streak to 4.7 and back to 4.2 or even 4.1. Previously I had read an article where Valve claimed that there is no such thing as losing streak in the matchmaking algorithm and they DO NOT want us to be in a losing streak.

One of the few upsides of the Reborn client is that you can check others' match history. So recently when I happened to be on the losing streak (again) I started to check the match history of the other 9 players in the game. And to my great surprise, I found that most of the players on my team (including myself) were on a losing streak of 4-5 matches and on the other hand most of the opponents were on a winning streak. Thus most of the matches happen to be vigorously one-sided and there is a lot of negativity coming from the losing-streakers.

So my main question is, is there any criteria set into the matchmaking algorithm to take win/loss streak of players into account? If no, then how does 4-5 losing streakers get matched into the same team one match after the other?

PFlax: If you get into this kind of detail, it s all supposition. I lose because the MMR system is broken, matchmaking is rigged … why would they do that? What incentive is there for them to force you to win or lose matches? There s none! Somebody has to win or lose the game, but they don t care who—because it doesn t affect Dota either way. There is no benefit to holding you back from your true MMR with a clever piece of code. There s no reason for them to do it. You re making something out of meaningless numbers.

Maybe you played too many damn games in a row and you need to take a break. Maybe you won too many times in a row and settled into a comfort zone. People are so quick to associate their success or failure, even as a team, with some outside factor. It s very rarely that. It s always you who won or lost the game with your team, and that s it.

PCG: The thing I want to get printed on a giant rainbow banner is MMR is an average. Your MMR is not how good you are in total—if you re a 4.5k player, you sometimes will play like a 5k player and sometimes like a 3.5k player. You veer up and down all the time. The idea is that you average out where you should be. If this guy calibrated at 4.4 and veers between 4.7 and 4.2, then it kind of suggests that he was calibrated in the right place.

PFlax: Also, your MMR being two or three hundred points higher isn t a big deal compared to being in the higher brackets. The difference when you get to 6k-7k players is godlike: I ve seen this with Blitz. He ll queue into a game and be like oh, it s this guy and this guy. He knows them, because the community of players that they can be matched with is so small that they bump into each other again and again. That s how people get headhunted.

The chances of your MMR being wrong by a few hundred isn t going to matter, because you re in this huge pool of people that are actually pretty similar in skill level. It s only when you get up to the absolute top that you realise this huge gulf in class. Honestly, though, I just can t believe he s reading that much into it.

PCG: I suspect that we re going to get is my MMR wrong questions for as long as this column exists.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

Last night, ESL and Valve announced the eight teams being invited to The Frankfurt Major—the first of Valve's new series of 'mini-Internationals' spanning the year-long gap between Dota 2's world championships. The European Major will be held in Frankfurt (if that wasn't obvious) from the 16th-21st of November. This is a world championship-level event, by anyone's standards, and if you're in the area then you can attend for free. Only the Saturday, when the finals take place, will require a ticket.

The invites are, for the most part, fairly predictable. International champions EG are a given, as are CDEC, LGD, Vici Gaming, EHOME and Virtus.Pro—in that order, these teams make up the top 6 places at TI5. Team Secret's new roster gets the next spot, followed by Vega Squadron—the surprise winners of last weekend's ESL One New York 2015 tournament.

Instinctively, it feels like the plan was always to invite the TI5 top six and then settle on the last two places based on ESL One New York: given how early Vega were eliminated from the International, it'd be an amazing act of foresight to invite them prior to this most recent result. Similarly, Secret's 2nd-place finish in New York proved the potential of their new lineup, something that wasn't guaranteed before.

The remaining eight places will be determined by four regional qualifiers—Americas, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe. There are open spots in each of these qualifiers, with anybody able to enter a massive bracket this week to compete for a space. The odds of a Cool Runnings-type result where a group of unknowns enters the open qualifier and goes on to sweep the entire thing are incredibly low, but if you're entering your team—good luck!

The prize pool is $3m and not, as the image above might suggest, some kind of giant golden bust of a peacock. That peacock is, in fact, supposed to be an eagle, and the thing that it's attached to is an item from Dota 2 called an Eaglesong. You may think that it looks like the top of a recurve bow, but it is, in fact, a horn—a horn that grants bonus agility, for some reason. This is confusing because, in DotA 1, Eaglesong was called Eaglehorn—a reference to, of all things, a bow from the Diablo series. That's right! The bow named after a horn became a horn that looks like a bow, and nobody in this process figured out what an eagle's neck looks like.

This is arguably the least confusing thing about Dota.

PC Gamer

In CS:GO, a good grenade is a key that turns a lock. Flashbangs open doors, blinding opponents so that your team can make entry to an area of the map. Grenades also close doors, blocking off a lane with smoke or fire to discourage movement.

Part of becoming a better CS:GO player means mastering individual techniques that will help you survive the game's most common situations. For this week, we're concerned with everyday plays on Dust2, Mirage, and Cache, three of the most-played maps in the rotation. If you play CS:GO even a few dozen hours, you'll have hundreds of opportunities to execute these plays, and knowing the right 'nade for the right situation can be the difference between death and  your best round ever

Naturally, you'll make most of these grenade throws as the Terrorists, the attacking team in CS:GO s defusal maps. Terrorists necessarily have to change the state of the game in order to win.


Situation: Moving into Long A from Terrorist spawn

Situation: As the CTs, blocking an early A rush without running all the way to long A

Situation: From CT spawn, crossing mid to avoid getting AWPed

Situation: Rushing into B as the Terrorists from tunnel


Situation: Gaining control of mid as the Terrorists

Situation: Entering A from ramp as the Terrorists

Situation: Attacking B from apartments as the Terrorists, smoking off bench


Situation: Attacking A as the Terrorists, blocking off truck and a portion of mid

Situation: Attacking A as the Terrorists, blocking off truck and a portion of mid

Situation: Flashing or molotoving bombsite A ('quad') from squeaky door as the Terrorists

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Community Announcements - SZ

The Frankfurt Major will feature 16 teams competing over 6 days in a double elimination tournament, using the same format as main event at The International.

There will be 8 teams directly invited and 8 teams coming from the Regional Qualifiers. A total of 40 teams will be competing in the Regional Qualifiers next week, with 8 slots reserved to the winners of the Open Qualifiers.

Later today we will announce the direct invites that will be competing in Frankfurt for their share of the $3 million dollar prize pool. Invitations will be revealed one at a time on this page once the countdown timer reaches zero.

Tickets to The Frankfurt Major Finals can be purchased here.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (RPS)

Expansion packs were once a core part of playing PC games, but they can often feel less essential in a world of constant updates and microtransactions. Original game Alec, expansions Adam and Graham, and brief DLC Alice gathered to discuss their favourite game expansions and why they still think the model works.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Photo credit: ESL

The long road to next year's International begins in earnest with the Frankfurt Major, but ESL One New York was the first chance to see the world's best Dota 2 teams play the latest patch with serious money on the line. Given how much was going on this last weekend in League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, you'd be forgiven for missing the best bits.

An unlikely escape: Team Secret vs. Fnatic

Watch the entire match here.

Team Secret shook things up on the tournament's first day by picking Bane, Necrophos, and Io. The unconventional trio paid off quickly, drawing first and second blood in just over a minute. Unfortunately, this left the latter two heroes stranded between a forest and enemy territory. Their opponents, Fnatic, sent the heavy-hitting Spirit Breaker bounding across the map to capitalize on their vulnerability.

Necrophos and Io didn't stick around to let him. Rather than trek around hostile towers and heroes they went through the forest. Necrophos consumed the first tree with his last restorative Tango. Io, meanwhile, knocked down the rest of the offending foliage using his ability to pull himself towards his ally. It was a move that had to be executed just right. It was, keeping Fnatic from what should have been easy revenge.

Luna drops the moon on Slardar: Virtus Pro vs. Invictus Gaming

Watch the entire match here.

Luna's ultimate ability, Eclipse, is a tricky thing. Its destructive beams of moonlight are devastating, but the way it selects its targets at random can be frustrating. Of course, that's not an issue when there's only one target in range.

Invictus Gaming had just lost the latest in a string of bad fights with Virtus.Pro when they chased Luna into their own jungle. Luna, played by VP's Illidan, was in no condition to fight. She had just a sliver of health after the successful battle. Slardar, played by IG's Rabbit, was just the opposite. He was freshly respawned and looking to get absolutely anything in return for his fallen comrades.

Maybe that's why he made such a severe mistake. By chasing Illidan up into the jungle's high ground Rabbit lost sight of his opponent. This gave Illidan plenty of time to line up the perfect ult. With just the one target, Eclipse chewed through the desperate fish-man like he was slathered in tartar sauce.

Elder Titan says no: CDEC Gaming vs. Team Secret

Watch the whole match here.

At ESL One New York, Team Secret picked the lesser-spotted Elder Titan. More than that, they actually won. Convincingly. The match wasn't exactly borne on the shoulders of team captain Puppey's actions through the hero, but he had his moments. Moments like the one depicted above.

Using his stomp, Puppey put his opponent Shiki to sleep an instant before he would have destroyed a middle tower. Puppey denied him the satisfaction (as well as gold and experience) by demolishing the structure himself. That's when Team Secret's w33 appeared. Taking advantage of Puppey's lengthy setup, he shackled Shiki to a nearby tree and together the two annihilated the CDEC Gaming player.

The whole exchange was over before the tower's rubble cleared, but Elder Titan proponents will likely point to it for weeks to come.

Windranger gets tossed into jail: Vega Squadron vs. Team Secret

Watch the whole match here.

Io and Tiny is a combination with enduring popularity. The former is the wheelman, the latter is the muscle: the two complement each other perfectly. Case in point: the first game of the ESL One New York grand finals.

It was a sight audiences have seen a hundred times, but with a twist. Vega Squadron's Io teleported his partner nearly on top of Team Secret's Windranger. The classic one-two punch followed. Tiny first stunned, then tossed his prey to a nearby ally. As always, the damage was enormous, but there was a chance, however small, that Windranger could have escaped. That is if the third party hadn't been Clockwerk, who snapped her up in a whirling prison of cogs almost as soon as she landed.

Anti-Mage can't catch a break: Vega Squadron vs. Team Secret

Watch the whole match here.

Anti-Mage can be hard to catch, thanks to his ability to blink at will. That's doubly true in the case of a player  as experienced with the hero as Team Secret's EternalEnvy. Trapping him takes determination. Vega Squadron's Mag seems to have that, at least.

After he caught EternalEnvy farming Vega's side of the map Mag blindly harpooned himself to the already fleeing burglar. This canceled EternalEnvy's attempt to teleport home, and gave Mag's teammate Solo time to enter the fray. Together they dropped Anti-Mage to just sliver of health, but it didn't end there.

EternalEnvy blinked away again—this time to higher ground. Not about to lose him, Mag fired himself upwards using Force Staff. Unfortunately, he overshot and went right past his quarry. Still not giving up, he summoned a row of cogs to push Anti-Mage back towards Solo. Just one push away from toppling over, EternalEnvy used the last of Anti-Mage's energy to hop away a final time—into the waiting arms of an ally with a healing item.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Product Update - Valve
* Fixed a server exploit with Lone Druid
* Fixed being able to cast potions on Towers
* Fixed a bug where items from the Tributes of the Piercing Beak could not be gifted immediately
* Fixed a recent Custom Game stat modification regression
* Added support for dota_silent_roshan
PC Gamer

Custom Games

Every Saturday, we ll highlight a Dota 2 custom game that is fun, playable, and relatively bug-free. To find a custom game, go to the Custom Games tab in Dota 2 and enter the name as we ve provided it in the search box in the top right—in this case, Hardcore Ninja.

I m a lone juggernaut, my fingers poised over the keyboard as I blink around the map. Death could come from around any corner, and it ll come quickly. Fortunately, my two remaining opponents are in exactly the same position; the eyes of their dead team members fixed on them just as mine are on me.

Hardcore Ninja bills itself as a PvP Battle of pure reflex , but it s more than that. A round lasts between 30 seconds and a minute, five players on each team controlling juggernauts equipped with four abilities and a quelling blade. My first ability, Deflect , makes me invulnerable for 0.7 seconds. My three other spells are slightly reworked versions of Blink, Magnus s Shockwave and PA s Dagger. The latter two, of course, are instakills. First team to 15 rounds wins. That s it, apart from a final flourish: scoring a kill resets all cooldowns.

One of the enemy juggernauts blinks on top of me, startling us both. I blink away to the other side of some trees, earning us both a brief respite—but now we each know where the other is. A blown shockwave skims past me, giving me the confidence to poke my head around the corner and fire off my own. He deflects, but by this point my blink s off cooldown and I teleport behind him with an auto attack queued up. He falls just as his friends dagger is about to bury itself in my chest. I blink again, attempting the same trick as before. He deflects, forcing me to do the same as our attacks bounce off each other. Luckily for me I ve still got a dagger in the bank, which I throw at point blank range before he manages to get his shockwave off, winning my team the round. The whole fight probably took about three seconds.

A game of Hardcore Ninja captures the best bits of Nidhogg and Samurai Gunn, using the threat of instant death to imbue every moment with tension. This fits perfectly with the round based structure from Counter-Strike, generating those gleeful stories of one person managing to overcome an entire team on their own. It s fun being that guy, sure, but rooting for your own last surviving team member from the side-lines is almost as good. Even when the roles are flipped, watching a skillful player pick apart a team is rewarding in and of itself. It s fundamentally a game about looking cool in front of people, which ticks all kinds of boxes for me as a mid player.

Sure, it doesn t have the complex teamfight interactions you see in Dota proper or some of the more expansive custom games, but it doesn t need them. One of the problems I ve found with other custom games is that the fun is behind a learning curve akin to actual Dota. Introducing new systems, new abilities and new items may create depth, but it also results in the need to learn a whole new language in order to compete. Ninja s simplicity does away with that: someone who s been playing for 10 seconds will be as clued up as a player who s invested several hours. There s still plenty of depth to be found with the few ingredients it gives you. For every death that comes randomly from a stray shockwave, there s an intricate duel where anticipation, trickery and finesse are key.

At the moment there are just two maps, and one of them is far superior to the other. It s a small arena with clumps of trees that leave players obscured from each other most of the time, weaving in and out of the copses into clearings where an encounter is more likely. Playing around with sightlines adds a whole new element to the game, where one juggernaut can leap at another only to melt back into the shadows as their attack gets dodged or absorbed. The second consists of a grid of pillars and next to no fog of war, which robs matches of the tension that provides.

For the most part, the game s streamlined in such a way that suggesting potential improvements is tricky. Working in the disjoint from Manta Style, which needs impeccable timing, would allow for even more impressive plays and raise the skill ceiling yet higher. However, that would mean either adding a whole new ability or replacing an existing one, which are nicely balanced as they are. A timer to end the occasional frustrating match where one player just hides would be a welcome addition—or better yet, a shrinking arena. Ninja does suffer from the unavoidable problem of early leavers that affects every custom game. Here, at least, that s somewhat mitigated by how short each match is. Besides, some of the best moments emerge from being outnumbered.

At its best, Hardcore Ninja is a purification of some of the elements that most appeal to me from Dota proper. It s a 15 minute battle of pure mind games, juking, dodging spells and landing skill shots. For players who focus on heroes which rely heavily on such techniques, it s excellent practice for the main game. It s also a good way for players to try out a high damage, low health playstyle without the pressure and responsibility that comes with an actual game of Dota.

On its own terms, Hardcore Ninja nails the feeling of being both deadly and fragile, just as a Ninja should be. Go check it out.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Product Update - Valve
Fixed couriers and wards sometimes having error models
Fixed replays crashing when jumping around the timeline

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