Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

I remember simpler times when Dota and CS:GO items existed to give our wizards fancy hats and our AWPs hideous paintjobs. Now they’re used as chips in unofficial gambling. They’ve sparked lawsuits accusing Valve of enabling illegal underage gambling and seen scandals over YouTubers being secretly paid to promote skin gambling sites – or even secretly owning the sites they promoted. Oh dear. What’s new in the world of skin gambling this week? Well, Valve started sending “cease and desist” letters and more players and YouTubers became implicated in shenanigans.

If this sounds dry, don’t worry: someone named Karl Quackenbush is involved.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Photo credit: TaKeTV Media.

This might not be the busiest weekend in the esports calendar, but there's still enough to keep you occupied until Monday rolls around including CS:GO finals in China, the ongoing spectacle of the North American League of Legends scene, and StarLadder's Dota debut in Los Angeles. If you're into Hearthstone or enjoyed the HomeStory StarCraft series, you'll definitely want to be tuning in to SeatStory Cup V.

League of Legends: NA Championship Series

LoL's regular season play steps it up to cover for what is otherwise a quiet weekend. You can catch top-tier play in North America starting at 21:00 CEST/12:00 PDT on both Saturday and Sunday, with four best-of-threes being played on each day. You can find more information on the matchups, schedule and livestream on lolesports.com.

Dota 2: StarLadder i-League StarSeries

The first StarSeries LAN in the USA takes place in Los Angeles this weekend with $300,000 on the line. This is a good chance to see a slate of top Dota 2 teams play ahead of the International in a couple of weeks. Play is ongoing today, and continues on Saturday starting at 09:30 PDT/18:30 CEST. The action starts on Sunday at 14:00 PDT/23:00 CEST with the grand final beginning at 17:00 PDT (or 02:00 CEST the following day in Europe). Find the livestream here.

Hearthstone: SeatStory Cup V

There are a number of top players taking part in SeatStory Cup V this weekend. It's the Hearthstone version of the legendary HomeStory series: a serious competition in relaxed surroundings, giving you a chance to see pro players in a different light. Play begins every day at 14:00 CEST/05:00PDT and you can find the livestream here.

CSGO: Pro Gamer League 2016 Summer

This weekend is a little short on CS:GO, but you can still catch the finals of PGL 2016 in Wuhan on Sunday. The roster is primarily composed of Chinese teams with a handful of almost-top-tier western squads. The finals begin at 05:20 CEST on Sunday, which is 20:20 on Saturday night in the USA. Sadly there's no English stream for this event, but you can find the Chinese one on each match's HLTV.org page. Here's the final.

PC Gamer

It s impossible to perfectly balance any game, but the money system in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has succeeded in making an astonishing number of weapons viable more so than in any previous version of the game. Most of the guns in CS:GO are useful in the right circumstances, but even so there are a few that aren t worth your precious dollars. In this article I ll go over the weapons I think are either bad or over-priced. Remember that these are my opinions: everybody s preferences are different.

The R8 Revolver

Those of us who played CS:GO when they first released this gun remember a game that was almost unplayable. It was so powerful that there was no point buying other weapons. Valve quickly realized their mistake and fixed the issue in a patch a few days later. The R8 s primary fire has a slight delay before it shoots, making it a lot slower than the Desert Eagle. Its secondary fire fans the hammer much like McCree from Overwatch except it s rarely useful in CS:GO. Here s what it looks like in-game:

As you can see it s highly inaccurate. I suppose if you give it some time, eat your vegetables and practice like there s no tomorrow, you can probably hit a parked bus from two feet away. With a bit of luck. But then you consider that the R8 costs $850, which is $150 more than the Desert Eagle. Even if they both cost the same, I can t find a good reason why anyone would prefer the R8.

Dual Berettas 

These guys may look cool, but twice as many pistols doesn t mean twice as good. They have high rate of fire and lots of ammunition, but they aren t accurate at all. If you want to invest $500 in a pistol, that money is better spent on a Tec-9, CZ75-Auto or a Five-Seven. Some of you might argue that Christopher GeT_RiGhT Alesund from NiP has used the Dual Berettas a lot in the past, but I would suggest that he would ve been better off with a different pistol.

PP-Bizon

The PP-Bizon s magazine holds 64 bullets, which is a lot more than any other SMG in the game. But it stops there. The PP-Bizon has inferior damage, accuracy and armor penetration, which are the three most important qualities you look for in a weapon. It s simply not worth investing in. All the other SMGs can do what the PP-Bizon can do but better, except shoot 64 rounds without reloading but by that time the player using the PP-Bizon is usually dead.

The AUG

The AUG is an assault rifle used by the CTs. It has incredibly good armor penetration and its damage isn t bad. It s also pretty accurate if you know how to use it. Why wouldn t I recommend that anyone use it, then? Because it costs $3300. That s $200 more than an M4A4 or M4A1-s. You get a scope that gives you a smaller field of view when you can shoot just as accurately if not more with any of the M4s without the scope. The AUG isn t a bad weapon per se, but it doesn t make sense to buy one instead of an M4.

SG 553

The SG 553 or Krieg 553 is the terrorist counterpart of the AUG. It s basically the same weapon (give or take a few points here and there) but it costs a massive $3500 when you can get an AK-47 for $2700. In my opinion the AK-47 is the best assault rifle in the game. Compared to the AK-47, the SG 553 is an awful weapon that no one should buy. Ever.

Here s what the spread looks like when you burst:

Essentially, the SG 553 is a very expensive AK-47 that s a lot harder to control.

The M249 and the Negev

These are the classic troll weapons in Counter-Strike. Getting killed by any of these weapons means you just got owned. It s almost as bad as getting knifed, and no one wants to get knifed in CS:GO.

Both the M249 and the Negev have a lot of spread and high recoil. They do put out a lot of damage per second: if you spray. The problem with spraying with these weapons is that they re almost impossible to control. Admittedly the first bullet is pretty accurate, but that alone doesn t warrant a price tag over $5000.

What really makes them bad weapons is the fact that they slow down your movement more than any other weapons in the game more than the AWP, even. We all know that being mobile is the key to staying alive in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and you re not while you re using heavy machine guns.

Did I mention these weapons are used when you want to humiliate your opponents? Pro play is no different. Just have a look at this round by Nathan NBK Schmitt:

This time NBK accidentally bought the Negev but decided to keep it. All I can do is guess, but I think the guys from former Copenhagen Wolves wish that round never happened. As you can see it s still possible to make big plays with weapons you re not supposed to use. CS:GO is a skill-based game and if you re good enough you can make anything work. I do however strongly recommend that you stick to weapons that make more financial sense to buy. You ll simply win more games that way.

Find all of our other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive guides here:

Inferno Counter-Terrorist guideInferno Terrorist guideCache Counter-Terrorist guideCache Terrorist guideOverpass Counter-Terrorist guideOverpass Terrorist guideCobblestone Counter-Terrorist guideCobblestone Terrorist guideTrain Counter-Terrorist guideTrain Terrorist guideMirage Counter-Terrorist guideMirage Terrorist guideDust2 Counter-Terrorist guideDust2 Terrorist guideSupport role guideEntry fragger role guideLurker role guideAWPer role guideTeam leader guideSMGs guideSniper rifles guideAssault rifles guidePistols guide

PC Gamer

The CS:GO skin gambling saga continues. After declaring it would start taking action against a list of alleged guilty parties last week, Valve has now cemented its intentions by issuing cease and desist orders to over 20 different gambling sites (including one Dota2 site) for using their Steam accounts for commercial purposes. In turn, this breaches the terms and conditions of the alleged offenders' Steam Subscriber Agreements.

This has been a tricky story to follow, so allow me to recap: although skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has existed for about three years, the topic was thrust into the spotlight just over two weeks ago when it emerged betting site CSGO Lotto was in fact owned by two YouTube personalities who d previously promoted the site without obviously declaring their involvement.

If you re unfamiliar with how CS:GO betting works, I d suggest checking out Evan s detailed overview. As players play the game, they earn cases which, when opened, grants them randomised skins for their weapons. In order to open said cases, you ll need to cough up actual money, and once acquired you can trade with other players. Ultimately the websites in question allow users to bet their skins against match outcomes, or use them to gamble in a variety of casino-style, browser-based games.

The short version is that Valve wants to stop this from happening, however to confuse matters further there s also a concurrent case running against Valve where one Michael John McLeod believes the blame lies not with the many CS:GO betting sites, but with Valve for enabling and supporting their existence. Whether this comes to anything is a matter of debate. Regardless, Valve has since denied any connection to gambling sites and last week announced plans to shut them down. (Evan also explored the impact this had on CS:GO skin prices.)

Anyway, the list of guilty websites noted above in its entirety was tweeted out by esports person Wykrhm Reddy last night, and appeared to be corroborated hours later by one of the sites listed CSGOBig who attached Valve s formal complaint. The letter is signed by Valve s general councel Karl Quackenbush and reads as follows:

We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement ("SSA"). Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for personal, non-commercial use only.

Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purpose. If you fail to do this within ten (10) days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts.

In response, CSGOBig suggests it is only shutting down temporarily and that it ll definitely be back soon." The wording of Valve s pretty explicit order, though, might suggest otherwise.

We ve contacted Valve for further comment and will update as and when we hear back.

PC Gamer

Allegations were raised earlier this week that James "PhantomL0rd" Varga, a Twitch streamer who according to PCGamesN has or had nearly 1.4 million followers, is also the owner of CSGO skin gambling site CSGOShuffle, which he heavily promoted on his channel without any sort of disclosure. The claims came to light after a hacker who was actually trying to rip the site off discovered Skype logs of conversations between Varga and CSGOShuffle coder Duhau Joris, which he provided to YouTuber Richard Lewis.

There's no photo of Varga standing over a body with a smoking gun in his hand, but Lewis says the exchanges between him and Joris heavily suggest, almost to a degree of certainty, that PhantomL0rd is the owner of CSGOShuffle, and on top of that, he has gambled exclusively with 'house money' taken from the business. The logs he presents in his video would appear to bear that out: Varga makes some rather large payments to Joris, seeks help winning bets, and appears clearly to be the man in charge.

The whole thing has powerful echoes of the recent CSGO Lotto fiasco, in that it appears all but certain that Varga was using his channel to promote a gambling site that he has a financial interest in. This is not allowed by either the FTC or Valve, and Twitch recently clarified its own position on the matter, which is basically that if a streamer breaks a third-party's terms of service, he also breaks Twitch's, and will be punished accordingly.

And that's what appears to have happened to Phantoml0rd, whose Twitch channel has been closed due to terms of service violations. Specific reasons for the shutdown aren't provided, and Varga himself seems to have gone to ground: He hasn't tweeted or posted a video to his YouTube channel since July 16, when he proclaimed ironically, as it turns out that his channel was about to undergo a big change. The CSGOShuffle website is also currently down.

I've reached out to Varga for comment, and will update if and when I receive a reply.

PC Gamer

Counter-Strike tournaments are rife with moments of incredible skill as players push themselves to their limits in jaw-dropping performances. These stupefying moments, combining just the right amount of skill, luck and bravado leave people talking for months. In a unique approach to the competitive scene, Valve has taken recognition one step further, immortalising events in-game through graffiti and signs. As CS continues to develop, these memorials embed the competitive history of the game within each map, offering long-term fans a nod of recognition while advertising key moments for new players to look back to.

The most recent commemorative addition to the game came from the recent ESL One Cologne Major, where Team Liquid s Oleksandr s1mple Kostyliev hit two unscoped AWP shots in a row to beat Swedish powerhouses, Fnatic. Entering the B-bombsite on Cache through heaven, s1mple eliminates one player while falling before flicking to a second kill at absurd range. Here's the video.

The moment highlights a spectacular tournament for both Liquid and s1mple, carving their path to a first North American major final. Map creator FMPONE was quick to post a design to twitter. The mockup, which shows an angelic counter terrorist descending while the scope falls from his weapon, has since been added to the game.

There have been many phenomenal individual plays in competitive CS, but SK s Marcelo coldzera David holds what could prove to be CS:GO s true standout moment. At a 15-9 scoreline, Team Liquid needed just one round to secure victory over the Brazilians (then Luminosity Gaming) at the 2016 MLG Colombus Major. With absolutely no margin for error, coldzera led a crucial AWP defence of Mirage s B-bombsite. Here's the video.

Quickly dispatching one player, cold follows up with an unbelievable, unscoped, jumping double-kill. Seemingly unfazed, he then finishes one more player with a sharp, reactive noscope. Such a performance was crushing to Liquid who proceeded to lose the match in a double-overtime. Luminosity, however, went on to win the Major. Tucked away by the van on Mirage s B-site you can now find a winged AWP, adorned by four red skulls taking the place of the gun s scope. The design proved so popular that cold commissioned a tattoo artist to replicate it on his arm.

Swedes Fnatic are no strangers to employing avant-garde tactics in the competitive scene, with player JW well known for his sawed-off shotgun dominance on Cobblestone. At Cologne 2015, Fnatic utilised an aggressive AWP play to push an overtime victory against French side EnVyUs. At $4750 dollars coupled with a lack of flexibility, it s rare to see teams run more than one AWP per round, with more than two all but unheard of. Here's the video.

However, having built an enormous bank of cash for the final round of the half Fnatic chose to empty their reserves. In what must have been the professional equivalent of a jump-scare for EnVyUs apEX, he stepped out to contest the centre of Dust2 only to find himself facing not one, but four AWPs. Gaining an early advantage, many of Fnatic even swapped back to AKs to overwhelm the French side. Resting high over the T s mid sightline, a grinning terrorist now watches over, wielding a ludicrous four sniper rifles.

CS:GO s molotovs are no joke, capable of delaying pushes, dealing serious damage and, crucially, denying bomb plants. With little time left on the clock, even an outnumbered player can make use of a well thrown molotov to win the round. Here's the video.

Would that threat stop Fnatic s Olof olofmeister Kajbjer Gustafsson? Not a chance. At 14 rounds a piece in the 2014 Cologne Major, the bold Swede wasn t about to let a little heat stop their run, completing a full five second defuse while burning, dying just a fraction of a second after the bomb was defused, much to the delight of his team and fans. In one of the first real nods to the competitive scene, Valve added graffiti of a Hazmat-adorned angel, defusing while wreathed in flames.

During 2014-15, Fnatic established themselves as the dominant force in CS, winning titles left, right and centre. Despite this, Fnatic haven t always proven popular. During the Dreamhack Winter semifinals of 2015, Fnatic revealed an outrageous boost against LDLC, stacking players on top of each other to gain an unprecedented sightline across the map. Having lost the first half 12-3, Olof s sniping dominated the bewildered French side into submission. Here's the video.

The boost proved so controversial that the match was put in for review to see if it violated any rules for the tournament. Sure to go down in CS history, the play resulted in countless analysis videos and the entertainingly terrible musical tributes. Extra controversy was raised after it was revealed Fnatic s coach had actively stifled knowledge of the spot through take down of YouTube videos. After heated discussion with tournament admins, Fnatic eventually forfeited their place, allowing LDLC to progress to the final. Valve acknowledged the exploit with the addition of a warning sign, reading gel nder bersteigen verboten! or surpassing the rails is forbidden! Combining memories of both bravery and infamy, it s little surprise Overpass is sometimes referred to as Olofpass.

CS:GO s map secrets have been known to acknowledge more than just competitive events. Tucked in the corner of Dust2 s A-bombsite is a rather unassuming goose spray which serves to honour Minh 'gooseman' Le, a co-developer of the original CS mod. The spray existed as far back as CS 1.6.

In recognition of one of CS:GO s more entertaining bugs, Train has a small sign asking players not to step on the birds, after the introduction of pigeons to the map allowed players to ride them out of the map boundaries.

In a game renowned for it s high skill ceiling and serious competition, It s nice enjoy a bit of levity through the surprising number of playful easter eggs. A personal favorite is the chicken followers, whereby If you press E on a chicken, it will follow you through the map until killed, even spawning with you in the following round.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Phew, finally we get some new names in the Steam top 10 (previous weeks here’n’that), after the chokehold of the Steam Summer Sale is loosened. I did not expect that number 1, but I really> did not expect that number 10.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

On Wednesday Valve announced it would begin sending requests to cease operations to gambling websites that use Steam s trading system. Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements, wrote Valve s Erik Johnson.

The announcement was a surprise. Although scrutiny of CS:GO gambling peaked as it was revealed that two of the world s most popular gaming YouTubers had created a CS:GO skin gambling website and quietly promoted it to their audiences, some of these services have existed for three years. Other than a match fixing scandal in 2015 this was the first time that Valve has addressed them.

The drop in price seems reactionary, a reflection of some sellers fear that the market would implode.

Valve s announcement implied that Steam users should retrieve item skins from gambling websites, and some members of the community began to wonder: would Valve s action trigger a crash of CS:GO s skin market? Some Steam users own hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of CS:GO skins. How would their fortunes, and the inventory value of CS:GO s other 10 million active players, be affected by this announcement?

Not much. Although there isn t an index number that reflects the value of the CS:GO item market as a whole, sales data for individual weapons tend to show an initial reaction to the news, followed by normalization.

Valve s announcement went out via email just before 1 PM Pacific on June 13. I sampled a set of 20 arbitrary, higher-volume skins on the market, and found that they fell an average of 13.7% that evening. A Minimum Wear AWP BOOM skin, for example, dropped from $21.75 to $18.56 12 hours after the announcement.

The drop in price seems reactionary, a reflection of some sellers fear that the market would implode. Although the correction was very uniform across the items I sampled, most items have not continued to drop in value, and many have risen back to their pre-announcement price. More adjustments can probably be expected as gambling websites close or alter how they operate, but my belief is that these items will retain most of their value as long as CS:GO remains one of the most-played and most-spectated games in the world.

PC Gamer

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a game about teamplay, individual skill and economy management. If you know when to use pistols you ll be at a great advantage when it comes to economy and planning for future rounds. If you also know how to use them you can do some serious damage to your opponent s game plan. Win the pistol round and you set yourselves up for a great half. If on the other hand you lose the pistol round, there are ways to limit the damage done to your economy. Needless to say you should practice pistols and pay attention to their strengths and weaknesses.

 The pistol round

The Glock-18, USP-s and P2000 have one thing in common: they don t penetrate armor. However they do a lot of damage against enemies without armor, especially head armor. On the pistol round you only have $800, which isn t enough to get a helmet. Because of this fact the three pistols mentioned above work really well in pistol rounds. A lot of the time it s better to invest in armor than to upgrade to another pistol. There are exceptions, however, and I will get to them soon.

Another option is to buy a few grenades as long as you have a plan. It s also worth mentioning that one player on the CT-side could invest in a defuse kit. Nothing is more frustrating than killing the other team on an attempted retake only to find yourself in a situation where you don t have time enough to defuse the bomb.

 The Glock-18

The Glock-18 isn t as accurate as the USP-s or the P2000, but it holds 20 bullets and has very little spread.

This means it s a really good pistol to run and gun with. What you want to do when you play the Glock-18 on pistol rounds is to get as close to your opponents as possible and aim for their heads. They are likely to be wearing body armor and the Glock-18 has the worst armor penetration of all the pistols in the game. It s often wise to have one or two players buy flashbangs and a smoke just to make it easier for you to get closer to the defending players. Just don t use Glock-18 on eco rounds unless you really need to in order to afford a full buy later on.

 The USP-s and P2000

These two pistols are insanely accurate over great distances compared to the terrorist counterpart. As a result, you want to do the exact opposite of what the terrorists want. Your job is to make sure you can keep the fight at long distances. As long as you can do that, all you have to do is to tap slowly and aim for their heads.

 The P250

The P250 is a great pistol that s very accurate at medium range. It also has a lot better armor penetration than the Glock-18, USP-s and P2000, which makes it ideal for the second round if you lose the pistol round. The exception is if you re on the terrorist side and got the plant but lost the round. In this case you shouldn t buy anything at all, and go for a full buy on the third round instead.

In particular, buy the P250 if you re going to defend or attack an area where you think you can get close enough to steal an SMG with a fast headshot.

 The Tec-9 and CZ75-Auto

These can be some of the most powerful pistols in the game if used correctly. The Tec-9 is one of the exceptions for pistol rounds that I mentioned earlier. One player can buy armor and have a teammate drop him a Tec-9. That gives the terrorists an almost impossible force of nature to lead the charge.

It s also a great weapon to buy on force buys if you re planning on running a fast strategy. It s super powerful and fires rounds really fast. It isn t that accurate, however, which means you need to get close. Much like the Glock-18 it doesn t have that much spread, so it s ideal to run and gun with.

The CZ75-Auto can one-shot people at close range even if they have head armor. It s one of the most powerful weapons in the game, but it s incredibly hard to control. It holds 12 bullets per magazine and it shoots really fast. This means that you have to lurk around corners and catch people off guard. You ll most likely only get one chance, so make the most of it. If you manage to kill an enemy with either an AWP or an assault rifle you ve done significant damage to the other team s economy and it was a good investment to buy the CZ75-Auto.

 Five-Seven

The Five-Seven can be equipped instead of the CZ75-Auto in the loadout menu for the counter-terrorist side. It holds 20 bullets and can kill armored players with a single shot to the head. It s low spread and high armor penetration makes it great to spam bullets with at close range. If you re a bit farther away from your target you should go for slower taps instead. At only $500 the Five-Seven is a great alternative to the P250 in the second round if you are feeling confident that you can take out at least one enemy.

 The Desert Eagle

One of the game s most iconic weapons. Over the years the Desert Eagle has given us a lot of highlight videos to enjoy and envy. I m looking at you, Happy.

The Desert Eagle costs $700, making it the most expensive pistol in the game. It s really accurate at medium range and fairly accurate at long range as well and famous for its incredible one-shot potential. You can buy the Desert Eagle if you re a great aimer and you know you can afford a full buy on the following round or if your team decides to force buy. It is a real hand cannon, so don t underestimate its power. Master it and your opponents will have reasons to fear you even if you can t afford the bigger toys.

Find all of our other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive guides here:

Inferno Counter-Terrorist guideInferno Terrorist guideCache Counter-Terrorist guideCache Terrorist guideOverpass Counter-Terrorist guideOverpass Terrorist guideCobblestone Counter-Terrorist guideCobblestone Terrorist guideTrain Counter-Terrorist guideTrain Terrorist guideMirage Counter-Terrorist guideMirage Terrorist guideDust2 Counter-Terrorist guideDust2 Terrorist guideSupport role guideEntry fragger role guideLurker role guideAWPer role guideTeam leader guideSMGs guideSniper rifles guideAssault rifles guide

PC Gamer

In a welcome move earlier today, Valve made its position clear regarding the use of Steam's in-game item trading functionality, and its use by CS:GO weapon skin gambling sites. Basically, the company confirmed that it's not permitted, writing that the use of "the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements."

Valve wrote that it intends to send requests to gambling sites to cease their operations, and if they don't, Valve will "pursue the matter as necessary". Following that statement, Twitch has made one of its own, and while it's not necessarily a new update to its terms of service, it makes explicit that streaming gambling activities of this nature is not allowed at least in cases where the gambling runs contrary to the third-party's TOS, such as it does with Steam.

"As a reminder, per Twitch s Terms of Service, broadcasters are not permitted to stream content that breaks the terms of service or user agreements of third-parties," the statement reads.

"As such, content in which the broadcaster uses or promotes services that violate Valve s stated restrictions is prohibited on Twitch. Our Rules of Conduct lists other examples such as playing pirated games and playing on unauthorized private servers."

These statements follow revelations last week that two popular CS:GO streamers had not disclosed their co-ownership of CSGO Lotto, despite producing videos using the gambling site. That has prompted closer scrutiny of the skin gambling scene as a whole.

...

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