Product Update - Valve
- Over the past week we've been rolling out a new mechanism for releasing updates. Download sizes will now be smaller and restarting the client will only be required when the update has dependencies on it.
- Fixed League games (without a ticket) not showing up properly in the Live Games tab
- Fixed some recent issues in Local Lobbies
PC Gamer

Polish Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team ALSEN has been accused of match fixing during the ESL Pro Series Poland Season 9. Evidence has emerged that three members of the team, including captain Damian "DiAMon" Zarski, actually placed bets on their opponents, and then went on to lose the match despite being heavy favorites.

Rumors that ALSEN would throw the match were floating around before it even began, according to HLTV.org, and in the end they did end up losing to eliminacja by a score of 16-10. After the victory, online betting site CS: GO Lounge revealed that Zarski, as well as players Michal "bCk" Lis and Jakub "kub" Pamula, had actually placed bets on eliminacja. Lis and Pamula made their bets from their own Steam accounts, while Zarski used four alternate accounts, but also used his primary account to place a smaller bet on his own team.

Players betting through CS: GO Lounge wager in-game items, not cash, but the monetary values can still be substantial. Based on the valuations determined by the site, Lis won more than $300 in items as a result of the loss, Jakub won more than $550, and Zarski walked away with nearly $1500 worth of items. 

The other three members of ALSEN—Michal "michi" Majkowski, Mateusz "matty" Kobodziejczyk, and Rafal "sany" Pietrzak—were not found to have been involved in the betting. There is, however, evidence that other EPS Poland teams were aware of the situation but didn't report it; instead, they placed bets of their own on eliminacja, taking advantage of the steep 81-19 odds against them.

Given that in-game items were involved rather than actual cash, the exact legality of the situation (or lack thereof) is unclear. But it's incredibly sketchy behavior, and worse, it invokes the specter of rampant match-fixing in lower-tier pro leagues, where oversight may be lax. It's a lot easier to lose a match than it is to win one, and while the most egregious examples may be easy enough to pick out, more skillfully-managed fixing (and let's be honest, using your own Steam account to place bets against your team is pretty ham-fisted) is much harder to pick up on.

"Tournament admins and organizers, and [CS: GO Lounge] site admins did and will do everything to stop stuff like this," CS: GO Lounge admins said in a statement. ESL Pro Series Poland reps have not yet commented.

TF2 Blog




This year's BETA LAN Party will be covered live on twitch.tv at 9:00 CET (4AM EST), October 25th!




Celebrating the foundation of the Lithuanian eSports Association, The BETA LAN Party gives Lithuanian and neighboring country TF2 gamers a chance to gather in one place, participate in various tournaments and meet new people. This year's TF2 event will be held at Kaunas University of Technology; all participants will receive in-game medals, and the top three winners will be awarded with ZOWIEGEAR gaming peripherals.



Product Update - 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:

  • Fixed a dedicated server crash related to gamestats
TF2 Blog
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:


  • Fixed a dedicated server crash related to gamestats
Product Update - 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:

  • Fixed another exploit that allowed clients to have an out-of-date, corrupt, or modified version of items_game.txt
  • Fixed clients not downloading *.dx80.vtx, *.dx90.vtx, and *.sw.vtx files from servers running custom content
  • Fixed sv_pure defaulting to -2 instead of 0
  • Fixed font issues for Mac clients
  • Made the Spellbook Magazine a base action slot item for players to equip and use when playing on a server that uses Halloween Spells
  • Fixed not being able to wear Halloween-restricted cosmetic items on Halloween maps outside of the regular Halloween and Fullmoon events
  • Halloween spells can now be enabled and controlled on servers via ConVars tf_spells_enabled and tf_player_spell_drop_on_death_rate
  • Halloween spells can now be enabled by map authors via HolidayEntity by setting the flag HalloweenSetUsingSpells
TF2 Blog
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:


  • Fixed another exploit that allowed clients to have an out-of-date, corrupt, or modified version of items_game.txt
  • Fixed clients not downloading *.dx80.vtx, *.dx90.vtx, and *.sw.vtx files from servers running custom content
  • Fixed sv_pure defaulting to -2 instead of 0
  • Fixed font issues for Mac clients
  • Made the Spellbook Magazine a base action slot item for players to equip and use when playing on a server that uses Halloween Spells
  • Fixed not being able to wear Halloween-restricted cosmetic items on Halloween maps outside of the regular Halloween and Fullmoon events
  • Halloween spells can now be enabled and controlled on servers via ConVars tf_spells_enabled and tf_player_spell_drop_on_death_rate
  • Halloween spells can now be enabled by map authors via HolidayEntity by setting the flag HalloweenSetUsingSpells
PC Gamer

Evan writes about CS:GO and other FPSes each Monday in Triggernometry.

Counter-Strike became a more interesting game to me the moment I embraced that it's as much about information gathering as it is about gathering sick AWP noscopes.

In a five-on-five format—the way you should be playing Counter-Strike, regardless of your skill level—CS shrinks to a size that fits in your brain. Every player action—footsteps, reloads—produces information, and every information piece paints a clearer picture of what the enemy team is up to that you're meant to adapt your tactics and positioning to.

You play within a possibility space shaped by bottlenecks and fixed spawn positions, and this distinguishes CS from other FPSes, which begs the question: are you playing CS like it's a different game?

It s obvious that Battlefield 4, for example, is spatially larger than CS:GO. But think about the way that BF4 s scale, along with the design of its respawn systems, make information decay quickly. Players can spawn on one another, on any owned capture point, or parachute from the sky—the three medics you saw on capture point D a moment ago can multiply into a dozen by the time the tank you've called in arrives. It's a game of fluctuating hotspots mostly played on open, flankable terrain. It's a game about putting out fires and starting your own.

CS, by contrast, is a checkerboard slowly revealed as you move through it. There are only so many positions an enemy can occupy, and unless you leave a hole in your collective vision, they can't magically appear behind you through teleportation. Where enemies are (and, secondarily, what resources they have (HP, armor, weapons)) is reliable information with a measurable lifespan. Without having some of that information, you're simply hoping for the best, relying on your aim to get you out of every situation.

Embrace scouting as a necessary aspect of Counter-Strike, and you may improve your win rate on the way to appreciating the tiny maneuvers that drive CS' strategic depth.

Jump-Scouting

It was during the ESL One Cologne that I finally realized I could win rounds of Counter-Strike with my eyes. There's a position on de_mirage beside the van on bombsite B, and I watched teams jump like kangaroos here, elevating their eyes for a moment each time to peek down apartments. Even if the Terrorists are rushing B flat-out, this move buys the defenders a few more seconds to get their asses to the bomsite, which can absolutely make a difference. (If you're daring, you can also land jumping Scout or AWP shots.)

This was a huge epiphany for me; up until then, I'd been hurling smoke into the Mirage apartments at the start of every round on the assumption that someone was there. Smoke has the ability to stop pushes and burn precious time off the clock, but deploying it there was also denying me the opportunity to gather visual information. I was putting myself in a position to be surprised every round and hoping that my aim could get me out of it.

Few maps offer the jump maneuver I mentioned on de_mirage as a quick, usually-safe scouting option. More often, the technique you want is a shoulder peek: making the smallest possible movement around a corner with no intention of engaging. The whole idea of the shoulder peek is to not stick your neck out long enough to even observe enemies, but 'process' what you've seen behind cover. You're snapping a quick photo, jerking back, then essentially looking at it in your own brain while you're safe. Do this with a knife out to be as fast as possible.

We ll dig into shoulder peeking more another week. The takeaway here is that in CS' five-on-five format there's an unusually high value to knowing where enemies are: it determines your aim, positioning, and grenade tosses—three essential elements of CS. Part of playing well, then, means learning how to gain information with as little risk to your resources (HP and the weapons you're carrying) as possible. Recognizing the map locations and round situations where information is available at a low cost (i.e. risk to your team s lives, position, or weapons) is a valuable step to playing a more deliberate game.

PC Gamer

Everyone still wants Half-Life 3. People feel its continued absence like a pain in the gut. Some people carry this weight around with them every day, and may well do so for the rest of their lives. Some people, when you say something nice has happened, silently whisper to themselves "Half-Life 3 confirmed?" 

This doesn't mean we ought to 'engulf' the lives of Valve employees, as a press release for a new crowdfunding campaign calls upon us to do. A ploy concocted by two interns at New Mexico ad firm McKee Wallwork & Co., the campaign is seeking $150,000 to organise a series of events and advertising sprees intended to persuade Valve to develop the anticipated installment. 

It's a unique idea - and it's probably not as dodgy as it sounds - but some of the wording is very problematic indeed, especially in light of recent harassment campaigns in the games industry. According to the press release received by VentureBeat, Half-Life fans have "never truly shown a united front", though "a little concentrated effort might finally get us what we want. The press release headline reads Indiegogo campaign to engulf Valve employee s lives.

VentureBeat reached out to the campaign creators Chris Salem and Kyle Mazzei, and this is what they had to say regarding the potential for harrassment. Obviously, lines like [engulf people's lives] is a little sensationalized to get people s attention, Salem said. But we think we re doing everything in a good-hearted way. We aren t going to have people camped out in front of Valve headquarters for weeks at a time. It s just going to be a one-day thing.

The IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign involves the purchase of Google Ad Words, mobile billboards, a Valve doorstop campaign populated by Gabe Newell look-alikes and a concert. It's currently raised $36.

PC Gamer

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

Watching ESL One New York last weekend made me realise just how long ago The International was. I mean, sure, technically it's only been three months. You
could say that, if you were going to be that guy. The guy with a calendar. In Dota time, though, three months is forever. This was one of the first major tournaments of the 6.82b (now 6.82c) era, and the first high-profile LAN in the west since the team shuffle process began after TI4. That great switcheroo is still ongoing, but for me this was the first time the game has felt anything close to stable in its new identity.

It was like watching a different Dota. Not simply because of the patch or the players but the effect that the two have in combination. Dota feels fresh again, a welcome sensation after the deathball doldrums that set in during the latter months of 6.81. This is in spite of a spate of embarrassing technical issues that riddled the tournament with interruptions. Maybe they helped, in fact: you've got plenty of time to ponder the state of the game when it's paused for two minutes out of every twenty.

Spoilers follow, naturally.

The long war

The best sets of the series
Alliance vs. EG in the quarter finals, EG vs. Vici in the grand final were defined by games that the casters simply couldn't call until deep into the midgame. This was extraordinarily rare in the previous patch, and demonstrates that the update has been successful in holding off the '8 minute GG' issue (at least for the time being). Longer, closer games mean that greater emphasis is placed on super-lategame carries, as demonstrated by Loda in Alliance vs. EG game two. Vici's Black^ said afterwards that this patch was going to be about three-core strategies with a single farming hard carry, and TobiWan put it a different way when he described Vici's winning strategy as "four-create-space-for-one" (a twist on "four-protect-one").

What was striking about this change for me, however, was that matches haven't become more passive as they've gotten longer. In some cases the early game is less active than it used to be it certainly doesn't outright the determine the rest of the game as it sometimes used to but we're seeing more brilliant, close teamfights in the midgame as teams wrestle to claim map control. There's something to be said for game-determining teamfights and they still happen but I appreciate the number of close trades we saw, particularly in the final. It's funny that the solution to a game that was losing some of its drama was to effectively curtail the long-term signficance of certain engagements, but it really works for me. More fighting is better fighting, after all.

The age of the support

This general shift has interesting implications for support players. I've seen the argument made that 6.82's lategame focus makes supports less relevant as fewer matches are decided by early rotations, but I don't think that's quite right. A combination of interesting Aghanim's Scepter upgrades and more gold going to supports in general means more interesting plays coming out of position four and five later in the game. Vici Gaming more or less won the tournament on this basis, whether that's fy's Skywrath Mage saving Super's Ember Spirit with an Ethereal Blade or the same player picking up Diffusal Blade on Sand King in two separate matches to counter Omniknight's Repel. I'd probably argue that Vici Gaming won the tournament because of fy in general, but there you go.

It's great to see lategame supports being given more to do than 'get your ult off' and 'don't die'. There seems to have been an increase in the skill ceiling of the role in general, and I love that many of the biggest plays are coming out of heroes with no gold in their pockets. It will, inevitably, take a long time for this line of thinking to filter down into pub play if it ever does. But with the rise of Omniknight as a ranked matchmaking 'win' button and Jakiro's steady shift from support to core, there's a rethink coming that should hopefully impact how people perceive these characters and their importance to the game.

Despite this, many people will still first-pick Faceless Void.

Size isn't everything

In terms of the game itself, then, ESL One NY convinced me that the next couple of months are going to be really exciting. The heroes that have clung to their top-tier positions from one patch to the next Brewmaster in particular are generally the ones that are the most entertaining to watch, and I'm happy to see Razor and Death Prophet (slowly) make their way back into the box of spares.

On the other hand, the tournament highlighted a few things about the growth of the sport in general that aren't entirely positive and I'm not just talking about the technical issues. The choice of venue is a sticking point for me. E-sports have always chased the old-media legitimacy that comes with being on TV or occupying a famous venue, but I'm not convinced that 'old-media legitimacy' is something that anybody actually wants. Going for Madison Square garden might have got Dota into the New York Times, but is that the real measure for success here? When high ticket prices and limited spaces are the consequence of a high-profile venue, I'm not sure it's the best thing for the game.

As Dota grows I hope organisations like ESL see the importance of balancing prestige venues with locations that support the volume of people who want to see Dota live and who want to do so affordably. The Commerzbank Arena where ESL One Frankfurt was held was actually a good balance of the two, in that regard. It's possible to have both, but I believe that the entertainment value of Dota is substantial enough that it doesn't need the extra flare all of the time. It's natural for a new form of entertainment, particularly such a generational one, to look to adopt the trappings of the things that preceded it. Traditional sport established our model for what success looks like. But because this is a new and generational medium it is an opportunity to challenge a few paradigms and high ticket prices are one of them.

Which is not to say that Dota hasn't earned its place in Madison Square Garden, nor does it undermine the effort expended to get it there (and to make everything work, most of the time.) There is a real opportunity here, however, to serve the Dota community with events that lots of people can get to to the point where live Dota is a natural part of the hobby, and not an exceptional extravagance available only to the fortunate.

To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

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