Community Announcements - alfred
We have released a Beta update for Half-Life 2 and associated games.
Changes in this update are:

  • Improved Russian audio localization
  • Fixed crash under Linux when playing the Episode 2 teaser at the end of Episode 1
  • Fixed gates in d2_coast_03 not opening if a stray piece of debris was behind them
  • Fixed in game text language to follow Steam language on Mac OS X and Linux, mirroring Windows behavior
  • Fixed being able to open door in d2_prison_03 before killing Antlion
  • Fixed being able to rotate light bridges in ep1_citadel_03
  • Fixed missing texture in Judith Mossman transmission in ep1_citadel_03
  • Fixed music not continuing after save game load in d2_coast_08
  • Fixed crash when using custom hud settings under Linux
TF2 Blog

Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, anybody who wants fifteen minutes of fame has to fight me for it." Brave words from a man who was pummeled to death seconds later by Matt Damon. Luckily, with fame-bully Warhol out of the way, people can now be famous for as long as they want. We decided to start small with a 15-second commercial starring the TF2 mercs, which will appear this Sunday at midnight during the Venture Bros. premiere on Adult Swim.

PC Gamer

Anyone who plays online multiplayer games is familiar with players using anonymity to misbehave: abusive, whining, foul-mouthed trolls sucking the joy out of every game, free of repercussions. Some games issue bans, some games implement a mute button, but few games ever seem to solve the issue.

Valve's Dota 2 team, though, is trying something a little different. In a detailed blog post, the team lays out the hows and whys of their new communication ban system, which makes players with established "patterns of behavior over time" unable to communicate via in-game text or chat.

The team focused on this problem after analyzing some data on why players quit the game. They found that most players who quit are not, in fact, simply sore losers.

"he outcome of matches doesn’t correlate at all to the likelihood of quitting... But one thing that did stand out in the data was the amount of negative communication between players. Put simply, you are more likely to quit if there is abusive chat going on in your games."

The results?

"Since the ban system has been implemented, there’s been a 35% drop in negative communication interactions.
Less than the 1% of the active player base (players who have played Dota 2 in the last month) are currently banned.
60% of players who receive bans go on to modify their behavior and don’t receive further bans.
Total reports are down more than 30%, even after accounting for the reduction in the number permitted per week."

Pretty stellar results so far, and it's still early. The core concept is as fascinating as it is common sense: banning players reduces the player base, and a smaller player base hurts the overall game community. By permanently muting abusive players, the game base continues to grow and players who cross the line have a chance to continue playing and, hopefully, reform their ways.

Image via
May 29, 2013
Community Announcements - SZ
<img src="" width="100%">

One goal we have for Dota 2 is to have as many people playing and enjoying the game as possible. To do so, we suspected we'd need to encourage behaviors that have positive effects on the game and community and discourage behaviors that have the opposite effect- like causing other players to play less or not at all or to discourage them from trying out the game in the first place. One of the things we also suspected was that we wouldn't be able to tackle that kind of problem without releasing the game - it's the sort of thing where you need a lot of data to know whether or not your changes are having any effect.

Now that Dota 2 has been out for a while, and gathering a nice mix of new and original Dota 1 players, we're able to gather data to find answers. One of the first things we dug into were the factors that contributed to a player quitting. While it might seem obvious that someone is more likely to quit if they have a negative experience in a game, we've learned in the past that we really need to test our assumptions to make sure we're not fixing the wrong thing. Interestingly, some of the factors we assumed would affect leaving didn't - for instance, the outcome of matches doesn't correlate at all to the likelihood of quitting. Losing a bunch of Dota 2 games doesn't seem to cause people to quit. But one thing that did stand out in the data was the amount of negative communication between players. Put simply, you are more likely to quit if there is abusive chat going on in your games.

So, further investment in discouraging negative communications seemed like it would be valuable. But where to draw the line? Should we allow all (potentially) abusive behavior in-game, or should we work to diminish it and push players more towards the positive and collaborative side of things? We don't want to restrict anyone's speech nor prevent anyone from speaking their mind, but for everyone who feels slighted by their inability to say exactly what they want to their teammates or opponents in-game, there is someone on the receiving end of that criticism who is having just as bad an experience (or worse).

After some discussion internally, we reached the decision that it seemed in the best interest of the Dota community to not push away players who actually enjoyed the game. As a consequence, this meant restricting the ability for some members of the community to say whatever they want. To put it another way, we only want people to quit playing if they actually just don't like the game. That thinking led us to the current communication ban system. Its goal is to reduce the toxicity that occurs verbally or via text chat, and as a result, to avoid causing players to quit the game solely due to negative communication experiences.

Now that it's been live for over a month, we're able to see some of the effects it's having, and the conversation the community is having around it, and we felt we should answer some of the questions we're seeing out there and pass on some of the data we have.

First, a couple of notes on the implementation:
<li>Multiple people ganging up on you to report you in the same game has no effect on whether or not you are banned. We are looking at patterns of behavior over time only.</li>
<li>If you are currently communication banned, any communication reports you receive in that time period do not contribute towards, nor result in additional bans.</li>
</ul>The system is not yet ideal, but we felt it was better to gather data on this first step before trying to complicate it with extra nuance. We've changed the algorithm several times already, and we'll continue to update it in response to the community's feedback, and the data we're gathering.

Read the rest of the post on the <a href="">Dota 2 blog</a>.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 5/29/2013

- Updated Overwatch FAQ (
- Overwatch case reviews will highlight kills and assists from The Suspect in kills feed.
- Overwatch case reviews will not record the team name when all five players play with their clan tag.
- Servers running with default setting sv_kick_players_with_cooldown 1 will not allow players convicted by Overwatch to play, setting it to 0 will allow convicted players to join.

- Updated CS:GO Steam trading card art to their final designs and names

[ MISC ]
- Fixed an exploit with disconnecting and reconnecting players being able to respawn in the same round.
- Network interpolation and update convars can no longer be changed when playing. To configure these convars, players must not be connected to a server or must join the spectators.
- Enforced signature validation of game dlls and plugins. Clients launching with tampered dlls will be informed of the invalid signatures error, and will not be allowed to connect to VAC secure servers to avoid being VAC banned.
- Fixed a problem in the GOTV recorder that could result in some non-delayed data getting written into the recorded stream, causing playback artifacts.
TF2 Blog
United Gaming Clans are starting up their Highlander and 6v6 leagues in preparation for their Summer Fun season. The first week of matches begin June 10 and 12. UGC has divisions in North America, South America, and Europe for both formats. They've also recently added a Highlander division in Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

Players from any of these regions are encouraged to sign up and join the fun! In fact, it's looking to be a record breaking season in terms of team signups in the Highlander division with over 580 teams signed up so far! Last day to sign up is June 15. Visit the UGC website for specifics.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Craig Pearson)

Bargain?It’s another instalment of our Twenty Bucks series, where we unscientifically hunt around in free-to-play games and find out what it really costs. Hooray! This time Craig tries to spend money in Team Fortress 2, where paid-for things will often drop on your head, but hats will often not. Here is one Buck with Twenty Bucks. > (more…)

PC Gamer

This week: We've seen the competition from the big three that the kids are calling "next gen." Evan, Tyler, and T.J. discuss what this means for the PC. CS: GO is getting a new mode that lets players evaluate one another. We get all meta and evaluate it. Plus: Diablo 3 one year later, listener questions, playlists, and more.

Xbox, play PC Gamer Podcast 353 - What's in the box?

Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Send an MP3 to or call us toll-free at 877-404-1337 x724.

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Follow us on Twitter:
@ELahti (Evan Lahti)
@tyler_wilde (Tyler Wilde)
@AsaTJ (T.J. Hafer)
@belsaas (Erik Belsaas, podcast producer)
Community Announcements - alfred
We have released a Beta update for Half-Life 2 and associated games.
Changes in this update are:
  • Updated Russian localization
  • Fixed NPC sentences not containing contextual information (like map location)
  • Lock player input during the introduction sequence in Half-Life 2
  • Fixed Episode 1 ep1_c17_00 so that Alex says the "Turret out of Bullets" line and the start of the air vent line
  • Fixed the power plugin having a red light after you fix it in the teleport sequence in Half-Life 2
  • Fixed video playback of the introduction movie and the Episode 2 recap not stretching to full screen
  • Fixed joystick rumble effects not stopping sometimes under Linux
Product Update - Valve
- Elder Titan: Fixed Natural Order not upgrading on Elder Titan.
- Elder Titan: Fixed Ancestral Spirit waking up units that were hit by the Spirit Stomp.
- Elder Titan: Fixed Ancestral Spirit having the wrong radius while returning after it expired.
- Fixed Shadow Blade incorrectly revealing its owner on secondary attack types if they occurred after the fade time.

- The combat log is now localized.
- The Watch tab will now default to the Tournaments sub-tab if there is a live match.
- Added an automatic "(idle)" tag in Rich Presence for players that are AFK.
- Tournaments are now sorted by their last game played.
- Fixed a bug where notifications of item purchases didn't work if the courier did the purchase.
- Fixed bug where chat ban notifications weren't displaying hours left correctly.

- Reduced memory usage.

- updated Nightstalker ult, made global for teammates.
- fixed Mana Leak target sound.
- fixed Dust sound

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