Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Encore Sale starts today! We brought back 40 of the most popular deals to give you one last chance to pick them up while they are on sale. Only 2 days left to take advantage of huge savings on thousands of games throughout our store.

Steam Holiday Encore Deals include:

Participating in the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn you exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect all 10 cards during the sale to earn the Holiday Sale 2014 Badge, backgrounds and emoticons! This is your last chance to craft the 2014 Holiday Sale Badge.

The Steam Holiday Sale runs until 10AM PST, January 2nd.

Announcement - Valve
The Steam Exploration Sale is here! For the next six days, take advantage of huge savings throughout the Steam store on thousands of titles. Plus, discover new and recommended games on your personalized Exploration Sale page here. Check back each day for new Daily Deals.

Today’s Featured Deals Include:

The Steam Exploration Sale runs from now until 10AM Pacific Time, December 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals and other special offers can be found on Steam.

Oct 21, 2014
Community Announcements - Cynthia_RE

Ahead of our upcoming patch, we are excited today to launch our October Public Beta! Most notably, we’re seeking the public’s help to test out our all-new Observer Mode. We spent a significant amount of time designing it, taking feedback from our Alpha group, and testing it. Now we want to get as many people as possible in to further test it, play with it and help us work on the final push to get this feature into the live game!

Also included in this Beta are a significant amount of bug fixes, balance changes and gameplay improvements. So get in get in the game, give it a shot and let us know what you think! A lot of work has led up to this moment, it feels great to finally share all of this with the community.

In order to make it easier for players to opt-in to the Beta, we are going with a ‘side by side install. This is new to our beta process, and is an alternative to the slightly more complicated ‘opt in’ process that we have previously used. It is a small hit to hard drive space but will allow you to have both the Beta version and live version of the game installed at once, meaning that you can switch between the two versions without having to re-download something else.

Players will have access to standalone titles they already own – as an example, if you don’t own Western Front Armies you will not be able to access it in the Beta. Commanders DLC will be granted on a temporary basis when needed in order meet our testing requirements and collect more feedback. This beta does not include single player, Theatre of War or Workshop content. This may change in future Beta releases; however this one is solely focused on mutliplayer content. This Beta content is only a portion of what will be going into the final October Update!

A big thank-you to our community for your ongoing support of these tests, your efforts help us to continually improve the Company of Heroes franchise!

You can read the detailed patch notes on our offical forum,here
PC Gamer

Relic has released the first game footage of the Company of Heroes 2 expandalone, Ardennes Assault. If, like me, you watch Band of Brothers with an alarming regularity, you'll know the Battle of the Bulge as basically hell frozen over. Judging from this trailer, the upcoming single-player campaign will capture the frantic and gruelling mix of frantic battle and terrible conditions.

This is the first new single-player content for CoH2, after the multiplayer focused The Western Front Armies was released earlier this year. That pack introduced the US Forces and Oberkommando West to the game, and now this one will give them a sizeable 18-mission campaign.

For more on Ardennes Assault, check out Tom's first look preview. Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault will release on 18 November.

Community Announcements - noun

Starting today, Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is available for pre-order! This latest entry into our award-winning franchise is by far the deepest single-player campaign that Company of Heroes has ever seen. With a whole new emphasis placed on player agency, your decisions will directly impact the lives of the officers you command, their men, and the outcome of the battle itself.

Each of the three selectable companies within Ardennes assault offers different gameplay styles, specializations, abilities, Officers, and has a different impact on the outcome of your game – significantly increasing replay options. What you experience in Ardennes Assault may vary greatly from what other players experience, with your personal journey one that is a direct result of your cumulative in-game choices!

For those eager to pre-order this exciting new release, we have a very special incentive! All pre-order purchases will include a fourth company for free. Under the fiery command of Captain Monte Durante, the Fox Company is a group of Rangers with an elite infantry background. Further extending your narrative experience, playing with the Fox Company offers a whole new series of unique company and mission reports that will change your mission experiences.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault will be released on November 18th and is the latest single-player campaign in the award winning real-time-strategy series.
Oct 16, 2014
Announcement - Valve
Check out Steam's first Free Weekend Weekend which will feature 10 games that you play for free starting Thursday, 16 October at 10am PT through Sunday, 19 October at 1pm PT: Free Weekend Weekend

The following games will be discounted for purchase as well as playable for free: Payday 2, Company of Heroes 2, Awesomenauts, Trine 2, Blade Symphony, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Don't Starve, Grid 2, Killing Floor, Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Free games will be available to play until Sunday, October 19th at 1pm Pacific, but games will be discounted through Monday, 20 October at 10am Pacific.

PC Gamer

If for some reason you budget your video game spending by the weekend, then here's good news: you can spend that money on something else. May I suggest: nicer food. A new pair of shoes. A trip to the nearest theme park. 

The reason is, Steam is making ten games free this weekend as part of its aptly titled Free Weekend promotions. The games include Company of Heroes 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Grid 2. You'll have over 48 hours to play them, as they unlock 10am Pacific time on Thursday, October 16. After that you'll need to pay for them, with the promise of substantial discounts.

Here's the list:

Awesomenauts Blade Symphony Company of Heroes 2 Don't Starve Grid 2 Injustice Killing Floor Payday 2 Trine 2 XCOM: Enemy Unknown

It's a good week for free games: is giving away Alien versus Predator Classic this week as part of a GOG Galaxy test run.

Community Announcements - noun
We will be performing maintenance on the Company of Heroes 2 servers on September 29th at 10:45 pm PDT (5:45 am GMT). The servers will be offline for approximately one hour and players will be unable to access online features during that time. Thank you for your understanding and support.
PC Gamer
Ardennes Assault 1

The standalone expansion for Company of Heroes 2 will give players another opportunity to thump the AI in a lengthy single-player RTS campaign set during the Battle of the Bulge. It's significantly bigger than the Eastern front campaign included in CoH2, which makes the addition of unit permadeath especially challenging. If you lose a squad to a stray mortar, or a flanking heavy machine gun, they're not coming back for the next mission. If your veteran Sherman gets pancaked by an airstrike you'll leave its burned out remains on that battlefield forever. Good news, strategy fans, Company of Heroes is about to get harder.

An obvious first question for game director and Relic veteran, Quinn Duffy, then: if you keep throwing men recklessly to their doom, can you completely screw yourself before the campaign is done? You can screw yourself over and you can sort of lose, and we've built it with the hardcore audience in mind for that. If you're looking for that type of experience, similar to XCOM, you can have that, he says. There's not a sort of hard line 'you just played a mission and completely screwed yourself', it's a lot of setbacks. When you get one of those setbacks the hope is the player's going to reassess their situation.

I'm reminded of 1998's Warhammer: Dark Omen, which carried a particularly gruelling implementation of a similar system. It's a better fit for the US forces in the Ardennes, famously cut off from reinforcements during the siege of Bastogne. For lead campaign designer, Mitch Lagran, permadeath fulfils one key purpose: we want there to be consequence to decisions. Consequence adds tension, it adds drama, it adds to that mission narrative because there's things at stake in a way that we haven't done.

The sprawling nature of the Eastern front made it difficult to follow a single band of soldiers through the whole conflict. Ardennes is different. Your company levels up between missions, which will unlock rewards. Relic's designers aren't talking about what those rewards are yet, but it's easy to speculate based on the recently added war spoils system that lets you socket buffs into units to make them slightly better at shooting guns and ducking bullets. Thanks to the evolving company, and scarce, precious units, there's more reason to become invested in your army in Ardennes than any prior CoH campaign.

I watched Duffy and Lagran fight through a single mission in a heavy forest surrounding a snug Belgian village. Duffy performs an efficient cover-to-cover sprint up the right flank, shrinking back at the occasional appearance of a German half-track. The town is taken after a difficult, noisy exchange of grenades and gunfire. The battle is heavily weighted around infantry and close-quarters fighting, encouraged by the intricate layout of the townlet's narrow streets. I only see one run of the mission, but I'm told it can be approached in various ways. You can go left, you can go right, you can go up the middle, you can cross over halfway and go up left. There are lots of pathways fighting in and around the village itself, says Duffy.

Each of those different routes actually has different styles of gameplay and different things that players can do there, Lagran adds. I've played the mission so many times, obviously. I've driven straight up the front right through the most heavily defended parts and I've done it pretty successfully, but it's a completely different experience from when I've gone left side and tried to do super-sneaky and stealth it.

At a glance the US force closely resembles the one released in the recent Western Front Armies standalone multiplayer release, which marked a return for fan and dev favourites like Paratroopers and, as Duffy describes it, the much-maligned Sherman tank. This reflects a new cadence of releases that sees Relic building multiplayer armies, and then designing single-player campaigns around them later. The resulting campaign is hopefully better for the six months of player metrics and playtesting, but should also bring the single-player and multiplayer armies closer together. That ought to make it easier for players that traditionally only fight the AI to hop into CoH2's expanding multiplayer ecosystem, or so the designers hope.

Ardennes Assault marks the end of a busy year for Company of Heroes 2. Incremental updates have tightened up performance, a new server system has improved online drop rates, and numerous balance tweaks have polished it up very nicely. It's a promising trend for a game that wants to become a World War 2 platform, capable of travelling between the war's varied theatres over the course of a long life of updates. Blatantly fishing for clues on CoH's future, I ask Duffy how he pictures Company of Heroes 2 five years from now. Vast, he laughs. It would be awesome if it was vast.

Ardennes Assault will arrive November 18 as a standalone release.
PC Gamer
Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2 s latest standalone expansion was described by Winston Churchill as undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war. Well, he wasn't referring to the expansion per se because Churchill is long dead (sorry to break it to you), but rather the battle it s based on the Battle of the Bulge.

In this single-player expansion set in 1944, you control three US companies as they first defend against the relentless German Oberkommando West forces in the densely forested Ardennes, and then try to push them back out. Expect more dynamic weather, environmental destruction, and shouty men.

Over a whopping 18 scenarios, you have three entirely new US companies to utilise, each with their own unique play styles and officers. Choices matter in this chilly crucible. Apparently upgrades, units and Veterancy carry between missions, so lose what limited forces you have and they re gone for good.

It s an innovative approach of developing content, separating the multiplayer which we shipped in June and now this one that s coming out in November. Having that space between them really allows us to focus on the best elements of each, says Quinn Duffy, creative director. We re producing more content this time.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault is set to drop November 18.

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