Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Fraser Brown)

rankeddota

With Dota 2 s Duelling Fates update just behind us — read what Matt made of the update — Valve s been fiddling around with the ranked matchmaking system, to coincide with the start of the new ranked season. Players will be able to earn rank medals for their profile, showing off their best performance level for the season. And don t worry — no matter how many rough games you have, your medal won t decrease once you ve earned it.

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Half-Life 2

We may never see a third Half-Life game, but Half-Life 2 continues to thrive—not least by way of its ever-intriguing community and catalogue of player-made mods—despite its age. 

Gunship Mark II's work-in-progress Half-Life 2: MMod has been around for some time, however is now gearing up for release and has a new trailer. Let's check that out first:

Despite first announcing the mod back in 2014, the creator says real life distractions have since hindered their progress—before Mark Laidlaw's 'Epistle 3' bombshell kickstarted their interest. Learning of what could have been has now inspired the mod's third and final iteration, which is now due in 2018.

"Development of v3 started right after Epistle 3 from Marc Laidlaw. You can guess, I was devastated, as many of us were," says Gunship Mark II on the mod's ModDB page. "People were saying 'That's it, Half-Life is over, Half-Life is dead'. But then it struck me: 'Bullshit', I said, 'We'll show 'em how dead it is'. I got fresh Source 2013 code base set up, I've got my tools ready, I've got Visual Studio installed, and I've started porting features from older iterations of HL2MMod, while simultaneously enhancing them and cleaning up the code. 

"Some parts of the code were rewritten from scratch, some features are totally brand new, a lot of features were ported from City 17: Episode 1 mod, for which I am super grateful. I've made brand new particle effects for everything, I even did a couple of live streams to show some features off and to tell people that I am not dead."

Again, Half-Life 2: MMod is due at some stage next year. More can be read via the mod's ModDB page, and can be seen via the following GIFs:

Dota 2 - Valve
- Turbo: Hero pick rules switched to a 10 second ban phase followed by a 45 second all pick phase.
- Turbo: Fix for duplicate couriers spawning in a reconnect case.
Team Fortress 2 - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added Jingle Jam 2017 community medals
  • Due to fraudulent use, temporarily untradeable giveaway gifts (e.g. Pallet of Crates, Secret Saxtons, key gifts) cannot be used until their tradability restriction has expired
Team Fortress 2
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Added Jingle Jam 2017 community medals
  • Due to fraudulent use, temporarily untradeable giveaway gifts (e.g. Pallet of Crates, Secret Saxtons, key gifts) cannot be used until their tradability restriction has expired
Dota 2 - Valve
* Turbo: Fixed issues with backdoor protection.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

In many ways, last night’s CS:GO grand final at IEM Oakland was a battle between two opposing philosophies on how to build a top-tier esports team. On one side of the match you had FaZe Clan, a team created by buying out contracts from other top teams and assembling  an all-star roster of talent from across Europe. Playing against them you had Ninjas in Pyjamas, a Swedish team with three veterans of the game who have been playing together for years, and two young up-and-comers who they’ve scouted from lower-tier teams and given a shot at competing in the highest level of professional Counter-Strike.

On paper, it didn’t look like much of a matchup. FaZe Clan’s dazzling roster of star talent has been consistently winning big events over the last few months, while the new NiP lineup has struggled throughout the year, culminating last month in a failure to qualify for the next ELEAGUE Major in Boston. Before the match got underway, NiP was being sold by the analyst desk as an underdog with a slim chance at making it through all five maps, and judging by recent performance, this was a fair assessment.There was, however, some early warning signs that this wouldn’t be the walk in the park for FaZe that many were predicting. Throughout the group stages it was clear that NiP had found a new chemistry with their recently-acquired young teammates, and any remaining doubt about their competence should have been expelled when they walked through the #1 team in the world in the semifinals.

Through all five maps of the grand final, the old guard of NiP proved why they’ve been at the top of the game for so long, landing incredible shots and making smart position plays that kept them winning rounds even when outnumbered or outgunned. 

Many of the rounds were so closely-contested that huge individual efforts were required from virtually every member of both teams to keep the games close, which resulted in some exciting Counter-Strike to watch, and a handful of stellar highlight-reel plays.

After trading map wins back and forth, it all came down to the fifth and final game on Cache, where a close first half lead into a handful of back-and-forth rounds, leaving the score at 10-9 in favour of NiP. Then a gap began to appear. The Swedes began to pull new tactics out of their deep repertoire, like having REZ flank through mid with some excellent timing, and sending GeT_RiGhT up into the A site boost spot to wreak unexpected havok.

All of a sudden the score was 15-9 courtesy of a string of inventive rounds from NiP. After a brief rally due to a big play from karrigan, FaZe was defeated 16-10. One of the most severe slumps we’ve seen a top-tier team go through in modern recollection was at an end, and NiP’s new lineup proved themselves to be a potent combination of old-guard experience and tactics, and new-school talent and energy.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament was the performance of 19-year-old REZ, the newest addition to the NiP lineup and a new face in the upper echelons of CS:GO generally. He was consistently a top performer for his team, dropping 24 frags in the first game against FaZe and earning himself HLTV’s MVP award for the tournament.

The Swedish team still won’t be attending the Boston Major in January, but they’ve shown that they still have the potential to compete at that level with their new roster, and the $129,000 they’ve taken home this weekend should be an effective salve for the pain of their weaker performances earlier in 2017.

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

Imagine what would happen if Plunkbat weren’t to be at number 1? Could anyone even cope any more? Has all of gaming started operating on this as a foundation, forgetting that it could, one day, not sell more copies than everything else? What if I’m writing this as a bluff because it’s not at number 1 this week? What if I just wrote that to imply the bluff even though there isn’t a bluff?! OH MY GOODNESS EVERYONE QUICKLY READ THIS NOW!

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

In the inaugural match of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive semifinals today at the Intel Extreme Masters in Oakland, California, perennial Swedish faves Ninjas in Pyjamas got off to a rough start. After losing their first pistol round to SK Gaming—the number-one ranked team in the world going into this tournament—the Ninjas proceeded to lose four more rounds consecutively due to some aggressive flanking maneuvers from SK’s fer.

Round six appeared to be heading in a similar direction, with NiP’s Xizt left alone at half health to defend the bomb against two opponents. All signs pointed to an unstoppable-looking SK continuing to dominate the match, but Xizt proved why he’s been an instrumental part of the NiP lineup for half a decade now with a beautiful AK-47 spray into A bombsite that eliminated both surviving SK players.

Despite SK Gaming winning the next two rounds, bringing the score to 7-1 in their favour, the momentum had shifted out from under the Brazilian team. Ninjas in Pyjamas found new strategies to shut down SK’s aggression, and won every round for the rest of the half, leaving them at 8-7 going into their CT side.The second half of the map was similarly lopsided, with SK Gaming only winning 2 more rounds before NiP closed out the first game of the best-of-three series 16-9. For a match against ostensibly the best team in the world, on the map that SK had selected to play on, this was an impressive result for a NiP squad that has struggled to produce results at recent LAN events.

Compounding the impression that they were finding their formerly world-beating form once again, Ninjas in Pyjamas went on to win the semifinal match 2 maps to 1, losing on Cache courtesy of a massive 32-frag performance from SK’s coldzera, then coming back to close the match out on Inferno.NiP’s GeT_RiGhT put on a show of his own in the final rounds of the third map, with a flanking maneuver so good that he surprised even the announcers.

Ninjas in Pyjamas will now move on to face the winner of the other semifinal match between Cloud9 and FaZe Clan, attempting to add one more championship trophy to their already impressive mantle tomorrow afternoon. If they pull it off, it will be a ringing reminder of their potential to a viewership that had begun counting them out of this tournament before it had even begun. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The Intel Extreme Masters pro gaming tour has kicked off in Oakland, California, and you can watch the action streaming all weekend for both PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Above, you can see the PUBG battle royale 20-team tournament, competing in four matches on Saturday and four more on Sunday, all in first-person perspective. The action is underway and will pick back up Sunday at 1pm Pacific. The teams are competing for a share of a $200,000 prize, with the winners taking away $60K.

Meanwhile, CS:GO's tournament (embedded below) will feature the semifinals (now in progress) on Saturday and finals on Sunday beginning at 1:15pm Pacific. The purse is $300,000, with the top team to walk away with $125,000.

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