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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to de_dust2 duel: Watch a competitive CS:GO match fought entirely with knives">csgo-knife-fight







CS:GO s competitive mode is where serious, hardcore Counter-Strike players congregate to test their aim and strategic smarts in a best-of-30, five-on-five format. There s a lot on the line: your pride, your matchmaking rank, your kill-death ratio. One does not simply agree to put down their guns and agree to 45 minutes of playful knife-fighting: it s hard enough to wrangle the tactics of your own team, let alone negotiate a no-guns treaty with five other online strangers who want to kill you.



Unless you re cyborgcommando0, who was a lucky participant in a CS:GO competitive knife match. For almost the entire bout (it was inevitably broken near the end as the losing team tried to regain the lead), 10 players slashed their way through de_dust2, commemorated above in cyborgcommando0 s entertaining highlight reel.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to de_dust2 duel: Watch a competitive CS:GO match fought entirely with knives">csgo-knife-fight







CS:GO s competitive mode is where serious, hardcore Counter-Strike players congregate to test their aim and strategic smarts in a best-of-30, five-on-five format. There s a lot on the line: your pride, your matchmaking rank, your kill-death ratio. One does not simply agree to put down their guns and agree to 45 minutes of playful knife-fighting: it s hard enough to wrangle the tactics of your own team, let alone negotiate a no-guns treaty with five other online strangers who want to kill you.



Unless you re cyborgcommando0, who was a lucky participant in a CS:GO competitive knife match. For almost the entire bout (it was inevitably broken near the end as the losing team tried to regain the lead), 10 players slashed their way through de_dust2, commemorated above in cyborgcommando0 s entertaining highlight reel.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Three Lane Highway: why Culling Blade is Dota 2′s most entertaining skill">Axe







Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.



Ultimate abilities are a good place to start whenever you're tasked with explaining why Dota is cool. They're silly, diverse, exciting to watch. If you're staring at an unconvinced game designer, show them how Chain Frost interacts with Chronosphere. Show them how Wraith King's Reincarnation power is both a safetynet and a mobile psychological deterrent. Show them almost any great Echoslam, but probably this one, because it's a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.



These abilities and the anecdotes they create are the soul of the game. They're why many people play. Faceless Void is popular because of the chance however unlikely that this time it'll be you that lands that perfect, game-turning Chronosphere. That glittering stasis bubble is symbolic of a pub metagame largely defined by players wanting to be lone-wolf superstars, a protected space where nobody can get between you and your rampage. I love the little double fist-pump Void does as the Chronosphere goes down it makes me think of that moment at the end of The Breakfast Club. Don't you forget about Void.



I've been thinking a lot about what makes certain ultimates work as part of the life of the game. This has nothing to do with how powerful or viable they are it's about the effect they have on the tone of a given match. As fun as Chronosphere is for the solo player, it's also an example of a spell that drains fun from the game for everybody else. Nobody other than Void wants to be inside that bubble. The same is true for Song of the Siren in fact, the only reason Chronosphere isn't the most frustrating ult to screw up is because a bad Song of the Siren is capable of ruining Naga Siren's plans along with everybody else's.



The best skills make the game more exciting for everybody, and that's why I submit to you, strangers from the internet, that Axe's Culling Blade is secretly the best ability in the game. This stems from the argument that Axe is secretly the best hero in the game, which I earnestly believe but will save for another time because I'd rather not have that argument.



For the unaware, Culling Blade allows Axe to insta-kill any enemy hero who drops below a certain health threshold. If you use it above that threshold, it goes on cooldown and merely does damage. Do it below the threshold and thanks to one of the best ability tweaks of all time it has no cooldown and can immediately be used to cull somebody else. The animation is this great leaping slam-dunk, accompanied by a sound like somebody smacking the world's most self-satisfied watermelon with the ringing hatchet of justice.



The last time I wrote about Culling Blade it was in the context of a tongue-in-cheek article about Dota's most meaningless numbers. I learned that day that many people do not want your tongue anywhere near their cheek, and they'll rush to call you an asshole if you ever suggest seriously or not that your right to Culling Blade somebody is more important than someone else's right to get kills or farm or whatever. Of course it isn't. A good Axe player knows among other things that there's a time when your team really does need you to dunk (a Shallow-Graving Dazzle, Abaddon just after Borrowed Time triggers) and a time when yes, maybe Ember Spirit can do more with those kills.



That's all well and good. The reason it's so heartbreaking to have your dunks denied is because the ability is so well designed. It feels incredible, and every successful dunk promises another. Like the dream of getting a rampage inside a Chronosphere, it's a selfish urge but where Void's glory-or-not occurs inside of a couple of seconds, an Axe rampage is this delirious, free-roaming thing. You get a movement speed boost whenever you cull somebody, as if the game is saying go, go! Go get the next one. Once you chop, you can't stop.



And here's the kicker: it's actually kind of fun for everybody else, too. Culling Blade is the only spell I can think of that regularly gets a cheer from allies. Yes, you probably stole their kill. But you did it with style, and Axe seems really happy about it, and who can blame him? He's from a mission from god to welcome whole teams to the space jam. I'd rather be dunked by Axe than picked off with pedantic precision by Sniper, because everything about Culling Blade communicates manic glee. It's a direct injection of energy and silliness into a battle in a game where most ultimates have the opposite effect Global Silence, Chronosphere, Primal Split and Doom are all good examples of stop signs. Culling Blade isn't a stop sign. It's that moment at the beginning of a motor race when the lights turn green. It is systematically impossible for it to be an anti-climax.



Has there ever been a better first blood, or a more entertaining gank turnaround, or a better start to a tournament than Pajkatt's double dunk at the beginning of ESL One Frankfurt? I don't think there has and I don't think there's another ability in the game that could get that reaction of a football stadium full of people. Because Culling Blade is secretly the best ability in the game.



To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Super Time Force Ultra comes to Steam next week, will (probably) feature TF2 characters">STf







Okay, congratulations indie games, you did it again. For a while I thought Capy's Super Time Force wouldn't make it to PC, which given the reviews of its Xbone version would have been a shame. Naturally, I was worrying over nothing. Not only will the 2D action time-travel-'em-up release on Steam on 25 August, but it'll arrive in a special Ultra edition.



Super Time Force Ultra will, according to the developers, bring "50 new Helladeck challenge levels, inter-dimensional Ultra Force powers and 3 super-awesome, super-secret new characters". Those characters appear in the trailer as silhouetted figures. The second looks extremely like the TF2's Pyro, and the third like TF2's Saxton Hale. The first? If we stick with the TF2 theme, it could be Miss Pauling. Otherwise, I've no idea. If you think you know, jump into the comments.



In Super time Force, you get to battle through levels. You also get to rewind time switching characters to re-battle through levels with your past self at your side.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The best highlights from CS:GO’s ESL One Cologne 2014 tournament">csgo-esl-one-highlights







The ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO championship went down as the most-watched Counter-Strike event in history, with over 400,000 combined viewers watching live in-game or through the ESL stream over the weekend. There were plenty of memorable frags, clutches, and comebacks during the 16-team, four-day event, the best of which I ve collected here.



Every ace (one player notching five kills) from the tournament





The final moments of the last in the three-match series between Cloud9 and NiP





LDLC s apEX notches a 3K on a terrific eco round





Dignitas dupreeh walks through smoke and is rewarded for a moment





A disgusting jump-USP headshot at the end of this clip





Semphis with an amazing stealth retake on de_dust2 s bombsite B





One of our favorite matches of the tournament, an incredible double-OT comeback





The moment of victory for Swedish team Ninjas In Pajamas



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Team Fortress 2 now accepting merchandise designs through the Steam Workshop">TF2 Clothing







Team Fortress 2 has shown that people will pay good money for virtual headclothes that sit upon the crown of the cartoon murderers they control in first person. Now Valve are trying something daring: seeing if people will pay for non-hats not in the game, but in real life. The TF2 Workshop is now accepting community designs for new lines of merchandise to be sold through the Valve Store.



As per the regular TF2 item popularity contest, users can upload their designs to the Workshop to be judged by the community. "We ll curate the top-rated entries," write Valve, "and the best of the best designs will be made available as official merchandise at the Valve Store and various online retailers. You won't just be ensuring your place in history: You'll also get paid a handsome royalty for every unit sold."



If you have a question, and if that question has been frequently asked, you can find the answer here. Otherwise, take a look at the current submitted designs, and perhaps dream of the day when they'll swaddle your fragile meat-frame.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to CS:GO ESL One Championship: watch these two amazing matches">csgo championship







The group stage of the ESL One Cologne 2014 just wrapped up today, whittling down the beginning 16 teams to an elite eight. We've already had two incredible matches out of Group D, and both have featured American team Cloud9, which faced Titan (France) and Team Dignitas (Denmark) as an underdog.



Read the full tournament breakdown on the Kniferound wiki.

WEDNESDAY

Cloud9 (USA) vs. Titan (France)

Map: de_dust2





Watch live video from esltv_cs on Twitch

THURSDAY

Cloud9 (USA) vs. Dignitas (Denmark)

Map: de_mirage











With the quarterfinals beginning tomorrow, there's no clear contender for the tournament win. Cloud9, the remaining American team and "comeback king" of the group stage, faces NiP, the team that dominated 2013 and took second at the EMS One Katowice 2014. Before that, the Katowice 2014 winner Virtus.Pro, who crushed US challenger iBuypower, is matched against Team LDLC from France. Epsilon, who beat out NiP in its group match, will face a rebounding Dignitas. Fnatic is favored in its match with Na'Vi. Check the full tournament bracket for schedule information. All matches can be watched live through CS:GO's in-game client or on the ESL Twitch channel.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The week’s highs and lows in PC gaming">SteamHigh







Each week PC Gamer s writers gather around a seance table and ask the previous seven days to reveal themselves. Not like that.



Tim Clark: What kept you, Snake?

I m mostly not much one for boss battles, but the fight with The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is, by a distance, my favourite. It s funny, tense and startlingly creative essentially everything that s good about Hideo Kojima s stealth series. Kojima s detractors inevitably point to his narrative excess and his games debatable interactivity but, honestly, screw that noise. Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC, in the form of both The Phantom Pain and its Ground Zeroes prelude, is great news. As Tyler pointed out in his

rousing piece earlier this week, this is an interesting, systems-based game running on a powerful engine. The PC version will likely be the definitive one. Now we just need Konami to confirm P.T. next...



Phil Savage: Craving curation

Steam is changing. Today saw the release of some new library upgrades, and, thanks to the dataminers of SteamDB, we've got an idea of the upcoming improvements to the service's store. This is all good news. Few things this week excited me more than realising I can now select multiple games in my Steam library. No, don't look at me like that. I own a lot of games and have a need to categorise them all.



Okay, fine, the potential store changes are more notable. Specifically, the idea of following individual and group curators for personalised front pages. It's a necessary move the continued sale of games like Air Control proves that Valve aren't interested in running a curated platform. Here's the thing: they never were. For years, they allowed unmitigated shit onto the store because they had deals in place with the publishers who shat them. Being on Steam is not, and has never been, a guarantee of quality. But being on the recommendations list of some reliable curators could be.







Tyler Wilde: Shadow Realms

Last week, I was griping about BioWare s live action You ve Been Chosen teasers. I m skeptical of any game revealed by not telling us what the game is. This week, however, we ve all begun forgetting about the teasers in favor of having thoughts about Shadow Realms, the game they were teasing. And Shadow Realms sounds pretty cool. It s a 4v1 episodic RPG, where the one is the Shadowlord, who s essentially a dungeon master. The Shadowlord attempts to stop the party haunting them, setting traps, casting spells, summoning monsters, and controlling any monster in the level." And despite last week s cryptic marketing, which usually suggests there s nothing real to show, alpha invites are going out next month. Find out more in our interview with BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman.



Samuel Roberts: Metal Gear? It can t be!

I have to echo Tim s enthusiasm for Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC I m a huge fan of that series and I ve completed all of them multiple times (except MGS4, since life s slightly too short for me to sit through its ludicrous hour-long closing cutscene again). I now want Konami to take it further. Some PC players would like an education on Metal Gear and why it s been so critically and commercially successful on consoles for such a long period of time. Konami already ported the original to PC years ago. Why not bring it out on Steam? Likewise, a few years ago, Konami employed port specialists BluePoint to remake MGS2 (eh), MGS3 (amazing) and PeaceWalker (very odd, but with a lot of connections to MGSV). MGSV is a great start from Konami, and I m glad it s not being seen as an afterthought release-wise like Revengeance was, but I think re-releasing the older games on PC could see that series be even bigger on Steam than it is on consoles. As Andy pointed out a few months ago, Metal Gear Solid has always belonged on PC.







Evan Lahti: Go, go, go!

I m so happy to see CS:GO gaining more popularity as an e-sport. On Thursday, during only the group stages (the seeding rounds) of the ESL One championship in Cologne, Cloud9 s match against Titan peaked at 270,000 concurrent viewers. Those aren t Dota 2 or League of Legends numbers, of course, but that figure exceeds what CS:GO drew during the grand finals of its last tournament. Valve made some improvements to CS:GO s spectating experience in a recent patch, and its comment during The International indicates that they might be throwing more of their support behind the game on most days the second-most popular on Steam in the future. It s inherently tougher for FPSes to catch on as e-sports because perspective-swapping between players isn t necessarily a great experience, especially for non-players, but continued support from Valve would have a huge impact on the scene.



Tom Senior: Rise of the PC

PCs are everywhere at Gamescom. They're pushing Ryse to 4K monitors in Crytek's booth, rendering 4 vs. 1 battles in Evolve and Shadow Realms. They're powering Firaxis' Civ: Beyond Earth demoes, sitting under tables in Paradox' booths and enabling huge League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive contests on the show floor. The Metal Gear Solid 5 announcement is the big news of the week, but it's symptomatic of the quiet ascendency of a platform that wasn't taken seriously by some publishers five or six years ago. There are a few holdouts, sure. I reckon Rise of the Tomb Raider will make it over late, and we may never see a PC version of Destiny, but these instances are proving increasingly rare. Hopefully in future, if we're lucky, we'll see more simultaneous PC/console releases for more big budget games, but let's not go too crazy.











THE LOWS



Samuel Roberts: Gamescom blues

Gamescom is like the local/mid-term elections in the realm of trade shows. If you re a journalist or one of the thousands of people being squashed in Cologne, I m sure it s delightful, as the show is notably better for access than it is for news but from the outside looking in, it felt like a bit of a non-starter for announcements outside of the great news about Metal Gear (I also share Tim s love of The End, MGS3 s astonishing boss battle), the reveal of Shadow Realms from BioWare and the Tomb Raider thing that pissed absolutely everyone off (even though the whole thing might be a timed exclusive it s pretty hard to work that bit out). A bunch of EA titles that probably should ve made an appearance Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror s Edge, any of the other BioWare games in production didn t, meaning it ll likely be another ten months before we get even a whisper out of them again. If you re at home watching out for Gamescom announcements, I can t imagine it was nearly as exciting as the E3 shows were. There s plenty to look forward to in the rest of 2014 and early 2015, but for actual new things, it was kind of quiet.



Tom Senior: Gamescom attendees deserve a little more

Three hundred thousand people bought tickets and stormed the Koelnmesse this week, and many queue for a long time to be ushered into a theatre and shown some trailers at ear splitting volume. Ticket holders deserve a chance to catch some advanced access for their cash, so here's a shout-out to the developers who put playable builds on the show floor this year. Often games aren't ready for mass consumption in the wild conditions of a conference hall, but when you walk past rows and rows of packed-out Fifa kiosks every day it's clear how much that exclusive access matters to people. People were even enjoying a few battles in PIllars of Eternity in one noisy corner of Hall 9. I can only admire their powers of concentration.







Tyler Wilde: Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox exclusive

I don t care much about exclusivity deals that keep games off the Xbox One or PS4 (though I m sure I would if I owned one or the other), but when the PC gets lumped in? And by Microsoft? It makes me feel unwanted, alienated. Why can t you just be an Xbox gamer?



As I argued earlier this week, Square Enix might be getting a good deal by making Rise of the Tomb Raider a timed Xbox exclusive, but I m still disappointed whenever risk abatement involves withholding games. I get it, though. Developing games is expensive and any way to help ensure success is welcome. But for the brave, a lot of money can be made on the PC, and I fear console-focused publishers will never have a chance to figure it out amid their exclusivity deals and pre-order bonuses. The response to making less money on PC, where there are no discs to print, no used games, and long-term promotion, should be to solve it.



Oh, also, hey Microsoft, I d buy a PS4 before an Xbox One, so seriously, don t worry about keeping games off the PC. It won t help anyway.



Phil Savage: Exclusively empty

I get that words change their meaning over time. This is a natural and healthy part of the evolution of language. But sometimes evolution goes wrong. This has happened to the word exclusive . It hasn't changed its meaning; it's lost its meaning. It is meaningless a carcass of a word that rots the sentence that it's dumped in.



I watched Gamescom's console press conferences in a state of constant confusion. The word exclusive was deployed in so many ways, for so many scenarios, and none of them applied to what the word should mean. Even worse was the phrase first on console for Xbox/Playstation, which was liberally spat out for games already on PC. The phrasing is deliberately ambiguous. It can be read in multiple ways, but specifically applies to one. If a core part of your business strategy is to mislead your customers through empty phrasing, you are doing something wrong.







Tim Clark: A beastly problem

Just when I thought I couldn t QQ any harder about the seemingly endless stream of Zoo players in Hearthstone this week s highlight: queuing into five straight Zoos in casual back come the bloody Hunters. Between the Webspinner and Haunted Creeper, the Hunter class already had its early game bolstered by the new Naxxramas cards, but with the arrival of the secret-spawning Mad Scientist this week the class is now likely out of control again. Hey, you like playing against secrets right? Wait and see how much you like playing against opponents who don t even have to pay any Mana for them. The salt is strong with me.



Evan Lahti: Steam needs an overhaul

Steam updates constantly, but the design of the client itself has remained almost untouched for at least a few years. SteamDB sniffed out an upcoming update to Steam, but it only seems to address a few piecemeal issues rather than being a skin-to-bones reimagining of the program, which I think Steam desperately needs. The glut of indie games, DLC, Workshop content, and software that s flooded Steam in the past few years has rendered the store page and other corners of the program less useful; it s unlikely that tweaking Steam s lame tags system or adding a discovery queue will address Steam s fundamental problem: there s too much stuff, and it isn t meaningfully organized.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 coming to Madison Square Garden for the largest e-sports event in New York City’s history">Dota2-mlg







ESL One is bringing "the largest in-person competitive gaming event ever held on the East Coast" to New York City in October, with a Dota 2 tournament that will be held in the 5500-seat Theater at Madison Square Garden. The competition will take place during New York Super Week, a ten-day-long, city-wide pop culture festival with concerts, comedy shows, gaming, lectures and more.



Eight top-ranked Dota 2 teams will battle for a $100,000 prize at the tournament, which will be broadcast live on Twitch with coverage provided by JoinDOTA. "By staging this event at the iconic Madison Square Garden, we're going to see history in the making," ESL One Product Manager James Lampkin said in a statement. " ReedPOP, Twitch and ESL are coming together to create something special that New York City has never seen before."



New York Super Week runs from October 3-12 and will feature events ranging from Dr. Horrible s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Joss Whedon-Themed Party and StarTalk Live! hosted by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson to New York Comic Con, which will conclude the festivities. The tournament itself happens on October 9-10; details about qualifying, invitees and teams that will be taking part in the action will be released "in the coming weeks."

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to CS:GO championship ESL One Cologne begins today">csgo esl one championship







Competitive Counter-Strike continues to draw a healthy amount of spectators as Valve s FPS has grown significantly since the end of 2013. Following Katowice earlier this year, the ESL Championship begins 3 AM Eastern on Thursday, the first matches of ESL One Cologne 2014 will kick off in Germany, culminating in a final match on Sunday.



Here s the full ESL One Cologne tournament schedule. 16 teams are competing for a $250,000 prize pool, with favorites like NiP, Dignitas, and Virtus.pro matched against challengers, as the ESL teams page puts it, like Copenhagen Wolves, NaVi, and iBuypower. Thursday s matches will determine the seeding of these teams within their four-team groups, with Saturday quarterfinals preceding the semi and grand finals on Sunday.



Earlier this week, Valve patched CS:GO to improve the in-client spectating experience a little, allowing you to natively view the game from the perspective of the match s caster. There s also a new camera transition animation that makes swapping between different players perspectives less disorienting. On Twitch, matches should appear on the ESLTV_CS channel.



As has been the case for other events, watching tournament matches in-game or with a Steam-linked Twitch account gives you a chance of collecting special in-game items.
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