PC Gamer
PCG254.feat_dota.g10


Welcome to the PC Gamer Game of the Year Awards 2013. For an explanation of how the awards were decided, a round-up of all the awards and the list of judges, check here.

One glance at the Steam player statistics will hint at the popularity of our E-sport of the year. At one point today 609,248 were playing Dota 2 concurrently, more than five times times more popular than the second runner. The International proved that Dota 2 has tremendous potential as a spectator sport, but beyond the realms of professional competition Dota 2 has collectively absorbed more hours of our time than any other game this year, and it's only set to grow in 2014 and beyond.

CHRIS My hands were nowhere near a keyboard at the time, but being in the crowd during the final of The International 2013 was the single most powerful gaming experience I had this year. Those final clashes between Alliance and Na Vi have become legendary, and with good reason they represent exactly why the game is so exciting as a sport. In addition to principles of technical mastery that it shares with StarCraft II, Dota 2 allows for both virtuoso creativity and epic metagame strategy. It is both mechanically and psychologically complex in a way that brings personality to the fore, but it doesn t just create rockstars: it creates leaders, strategists, rivals and friends.

It s also excitingly international: no single region has a monopoly on the best players or strategies. This was Europe s year, but 2014 could well belong to China or the nascent South Korean scene. Malaysia had a phenomenal showing in 2013, drawing deserved attention to Southeast Asian gaming. Who knows 2014 s International could even go to the USA. It probably won t.

Valve have pioneered new ways for e-sports teams to reward their members, laying the foundations for a stable professional sport that isn t as reliant on sponsorship and prize money. The International s crowd-funded prize pool was a stroke of genius that has since been adopted by the MLG for its own Dota 2 tournament, and the arrival of team and pro player-branded cosmetic item sets in the store has given players a way to display their affiliations while generating financial support for the sport itself.

EVAN One of Valve s achievements remains making Dota 2 so much more visually readable than League of Legends. The scale of the roster and the fact that some of its mechanics are based on Warcraft III engine limitations would limit accessibility, you d think, but all of Valve s effort to use lighting, silhouettes and colour saturation to convey clearly what s happening on screen is brilliant artistic and technical work that happens to make for an incredible spectating experience.

CORY What Chris failed to mention is that he s spent more than 300 hours playing Dota 2, a number that just knocks me out. I admit that I m personally terrified of the game. The few times I ve played have left me frustrated and embarrassed by the sheer amount of things I don t know how to do in it. And yet, I want to learn more. Watching good players play is unbelievably exciting. My goal for 2014 is to keep learning how to play. If I get as addicted as Chris, however, please arrange an intervention.

CHRIS Not more than 300 hours , Cory. More than a thousand. By my calculation, I ve spent 8.2% of my life playing Dota 2 since June last year.

Dota 2 s insane complexity is what makes it so enduringly fascinating to people with an eye for the stories that emerge from systems. I ve seen things you people wouldn t believe. I ve seen Reverse Polarity-Skewer-Glimpse accidents teleport entire teams into the fountain. I ve seen Wisp Tether-Relocate- Blink escapes that d make a grown man cry. I ve seen a ghost fight a bear in a hat. All those moments preserved in time, thanks to a robust server-side replay system.

Time to Dota.
PC Gamer
best gaming moment of 2013


Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2


Not killed enough undead monstrosities this Christmas? Let Valve fix that for you. Left 4 Dead 2 is now free on Steam. In case you've missed it thus far, Left 4 Dead is blooming brilliant. You and up to three human buddies fight through 90 minute missions set in different zombie-infested locales across America. The zombie throngs are managed by an AI director, which measures your health and stress levels and doles out varying degrees of punishment to match your perceived mood. Watch out, also, for the special infected - hideous supermutants with unique ways of punching/eating/melting your face.

The Left 4 Dead 1 maps have all been ported into the sequel, making Left 4 Dead 2 the definitive entry in the series. There are also plenty of fan-made campaigns and mods on the Steam workshop, including a Helm's Deep Lord of the Rings map and a mod that turns your party of survivors into Velociraptors.

According to a Left 4 Dead 2 Steam announcement, the game will be free until 10AM PST 26/12/2013. Go, go, go.
Community Announcements - Chet
<center><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/12152/blog_image.jpg?t=1387852412"></center>
To celebrate the holidays in a special way this year, Left 4 Dead 2 will be free until 10AM PST 12/26.

It will be free as in, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/550">grab it now</a>, pay no money, and it is yours to keep forever – FOR FREE!

To claim your L4D2 gift, all you need to do is install it.

If you don’t install, it goes back to its regular price and you miss out! The zombie apocalypse is more fun with friends so make sure to tell all your mates to install it as well.

To help spread the holiday cheer, all current players can earn the achievement – Ghost of Christmas Present – Spread cheer by helping a free holiday player survive a campaign.

Left 4 Dead 2 is filled with so much content where do you start?

To avoid any grinches, we suggest jumping into campaign mode and get the basics down before moving into the competitive modes.

You can also check out some <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=203672426">guides</a>, read <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/550/discussions/">the forums</a> and ask questions, check out <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/550/images?p=1&browsefilter=toprated">some art</a>, read <a href="http://www.l4d.com/comic/">the comic</a>, watch <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/550/videos?p=1&browsefilter=toprated">some movies</a>, and most importantly have fun!

Some other quick tips:

Before the game: HOOK UP YOUR MICROPHONE! Communication is important in L4D2. Make sure you can keep in contact with your teammates.

In Game: stay with your teammates. L4D2 is all about teamwork and leaving your dentist friend behind to go off on your own will only get you killed. It doesn't matter that you glow!

Post Game: Make friends. If you are having fun with a group, send them friend invites or join a common group.

And there is more!

You can listen to the <a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/12152/All%20I%20Want%20For%20Christmas%20(is%20to%20kick%20your%20ass).mp3?t=1387670808">Midnight Riders</a>. Download and vote on <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=550&browsesort=toprated&browsefilter=toprated&p=1">Workshop</a> items. Dive into the <a href="https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Left_4_Dead_2_Level_Creation">modding tools</a>,and create your own items for the workshop including the scripts for the <a href="https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/L4D2_EMS/Intro">Extended Mutation System</a>.

Welcome to Left 4 Dead and Happy Holidays!
L4D Blog
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Valve is wishing players everywhere a Happy Holidays by offering a special gift. Steam owners can pick up and install a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 from now through 10am PST on Thursday, December 26, at which point it will return to its regular price.
Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Sale continues today with huge savings throughout the store! Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales. You can even help select what goes on sale with our Community's Choice Voting Sales.

In addition to Flash and Vote sales, more than a hundred games and apps will be featured as Daily Deals throughout the sale, with new deals popping up every 24 hours.

Today's Daily Deals include:

Participating in the 2013 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn customers exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect, trade, and craft 10 Holiday Snow Globe Cards that can only be earned during the sale. Every craft of a Holiday Sale badge will also generate a random item drop from 10 participating Free-To-Play games, featuring exclusive in-game items from Warframe, Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and more. These items are both tradable and marketable.

Learn more about this year's Steam Holiday Sale features HERE.

The Steam Holiday Sale will run until 10AM PST, January 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals, Flash Sales, Community Choice Voting and more can be found HERE.

Product Update - Valve
- Fixed Governor's Salakots that had been wrongly converted into Ancient Imbued Spinal Blades.

- Fixed the 400% battle booster giving only 300%. Active battle boosters of this type have been reset to 500 minutes remaining. The 9 players that already fully consumed their battle boosters have each been granted two new boosters.

- Launching the game will now allow you to reconnect to a match in progress even while searching for the Dota 2 Network. In concert with this change, all existing low priority punishments have been reset.
TF2 Blog


Well, it's December again, assuming you adhere to the Gregorian Calendar, there's an etching of frost on the ol' window panes, unless you live somewhere temperate, and the lights are shining brightly on the ol' tree you may or may not have, depending on religious affiliation and stance on deforestation. That can only mean one thing: It's Smissmas, everybody! It's a holiday we invented that we'd love you to celebrate with us.


We're of course shipping the usual Smissmas celebrations, including new festive weapons, new winter-themed community cosmetics, and a great big sale in the Mann Co. Store. And starting this year, we're also giving everyone who plays during the event a Stocking Stuffer full of goodies. Click here for a full list of changes, fixes, and new content.


2013's been a great year for Team Fortress 2, and next year's looking to be even better. We've got some truly big surprises planned for 2014, and since nobody wants them delayed until 2015, we'd better get back to work.


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:


Happy Smissmas 2013!
  • All Players who play TF2 during the event will receive a Gift-Stuffed Stocking! Stockings contain goodies for good little Mercenaries.
  • Added community-contributed winter event items
  • Added the Giftapult, which can be used to launch gift items to randomly-chosen online players
  • Added Naughty and Nice winter keys to the Mann Co. Store
  • Premium Players will receive a Secret Saxton to give to another player
  • Item grants from previous events (including the Spirit of Giving and the Winter Holiday noise maker) have been re-enabled for all players, including those who deleted their earlier grants
Weapons
  • Battalion's Backup
    • Added +20 max HP passive for the wearer
  • Concheror
    • Added +2 health per second passive for the wearer
  • Crit-a-Cola
    • Reduced consumption penalty from +25% extra damage to +10%
  • Diamondback
    • Now also gains a critical attack on successful backstab kills
  • Flying Guillotine
    • Alt-Attack now also throws the Guillotine when active
  • Short Circuit
    • Attack sped up greatly
    • Ammunition cost has been lowered to 5 metal per attack
    • Players and Buildings are only targeted if in range and in front of attacking player
    • Improved visual effects
  • Soda Popper
    • Hype no longer grants mini-crits
    • Added Hypemode which grants up to 5 extra air jumps when active
    • Hypemode is triggered by Alt-Attack when hype is full
  • The Beggar's Bazooka has been updated to use the same taunt as The Direct Hit
  • Professional Killstreak Mantreads, Splendid Screen and The Chargin' Targe now generate proper effects when on a killstreak. These effects do not stack if another killstreak effect weapon is active.
Cosmetics
  • "Head" and "Misc" slots for player loadouts have been converted to Cosmetic slots. All items that were previously Head- or Misc-slot-specific can now be equipped in any Cosmetic slot.
  • Unusual effect positioning can now be adjusted for all Cosmetic-slot items
  • Unusual Circling Effects have been given a new origin
  • Unusual effects for all Cosmetic-slot items are now visible in the loadout panel and character HUD
  • Fixed the Wiki Cap clipping with the Demoman's head
Mann vs. Machine
  • Fixed being able to inspect Blue-team bots
  • Fixed the mission victory screen not always showing the correct information for each player
  • Fixed some clipping issues with the stats in the scoreboard
General
  • Fixed an exploit where players could move around while using a taunt to attack enemies
  • Fixed an exploit related to the Rocket Jumper and the Soldier's grenade taunt
  • Fixed killstreaks attained via healing not being considered for round-end win panel
  • Fixed the killstreak hud indicator position in minmode
  • Fixed Taunt Kills strange scores not incrementing properly for the Strange Scorch Shot
  • Fixed strange scores on cosmetic items sometimes failing to increment
  • Fixed gift-wrapped items not showing their interior item to the wrapping player in some conditions
  • Fixed Steam Sale items granted from Snow Globe crafting not being listable on the Steam Community Market
  • Improved bot navigation in cp_gorge
  • Improved bot navigation in pl_upward
  • Updated several materials to fix issues caused by mat_picmip
  • Updated the backpack to filter to automatically filter for valid items when using a tool
...

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