PC Gamer
Dota 2 New Bloom

Phoenixes traditionally symbolise rebirth, but that's not always the case. They also have pretty strong links to death: as seen by the quality of the third X-Men movie, or here, by the deadliness of Dota 2's new Hero. The eternally inflammable bird headlines the Day 3 announcement phase of tonight's New Bloom update. The update won't be completely without the spirit of renewal, however. A newly announced feature will let players Quantum Leap into replays, taking control of the action in an attempt to rewrite history.

"Now you can take control in any replay created after the New Bloom update, then act out the rest of the match from that moment forward," announce Valve on the New Bloom micro-site. "During a replay, hit the Takeover button to create a lobby where everyone can choose which hero to portray. Resume the match, and become the one to turn the tide of a favorite pro play, discover a way to escape an impossible setup, or relive a cherished team fight again and again." My doomed plan: create Takeover games seconds before the end of the match in order to persuade people I'm good at Dota.

Understandably, Phoenix's abilities are heavily based around setting things alight, along with introducing allies to healing rays of searing light. The ultimate is particularly interesting - transforming Phoenix into an enemy-damaging supernova that - as long as it isn't attacked within six seconds - stuns enemies and fully regenerates the bird.

Previous announcements for the New Bloom festivities include a phase-warping Year Beast of deadly splendour, the introduction of Terrorblade, an new Spring map variant, and a giant change list of Hero rebalancing.

New Bloom will be released later today.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Naughty map is counter-terrorist.

Let’s imagine that my time here at RPS thus far can be split into The Wire-style themed television seasons. The first season was all about FIFA and Football Manager and foot-to-ball related things. This second season is all about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s not my fault; I just find it really interesting.

The latest post on the official CS: GO blog details how Valve record data about each new map they add to the game, comparing new additions Cobblestone and Overpass with other official maps. (more…)

PC Gamer

It s only appropriate that a major leak in the games industry would come from an anonymous source with a pseudonym like crazy buttocks on a train (CBOAT), a NeoGAF user who recently posted images of Left 4 Dead 2 s Plantation level (the final chapter of the Swamp fever campaign) allegedly rendered in Valve s Source 2.0 engine.

The most compelling evidence here are the images themselves: six and a half Power Point slides out of 20, with a good look at the Plantation manor from the outside. You ll notice immediately that the game, real or not, looks far better than anything the Source engine as we know it is capable of the lighting, level of detail, and amount of assets in the frame (most noticeable in the vegetation).

Four of the slides previewed on the left show the stark difference between the level as it appears in Source and as it is rendered in Source 2.0.

The final half slide references Redesigned Tools & Workflow, followed by more technical details.
Valve Time has also obtained an image of The Plantation separate from the slides.

As far as rumors go, this one sounds pretty believable. If it s not, I am in awe of the effort someone went through to fake the information.

CBOAT, it seems, has quite a reputation. He s known mostly for his predictions about Microsoft s Xbox One, some of which were wrong, some of which were kind of right. He predicted, for example, that the native resolution on some Xbox One games will be lower than it is on PlayStation 4, Dead Rising 3, and other, mostly Microsoft related information. Not all of it exactly accurate, but close enough that he can t be dismissed entirely.

Here s what we do know for sure: Gabe Newell has confirmed that Valve will grace us with a newer version of the Source engine at some point and that it s waiting for a game to roll it out with. He didn't say what game, or when. Valve is not super into the when question, in case you haven t noticed.

However, another recent leak supports the theory that the new Source engine and Left 4 Dead are linked, somehow, at least more than other Valve properties. In August 2013, a photo of an internal Valve changelog list referenced "L4D3" as well as "Source2," indicating that the game will use Valve's new engine.

We have reached out to Valve for comment. This is the internet, after all, and there's every possibility the leak is entirely fake.
Community Announcements - SZ
Out of the cold and chaos come the very things that the New Bloom Festival is here to celebrate: rebirth and renewal. In this final rush of revelations, a cosmic force arrives to light the skies, while the past itself begs to be rewritten. The New Bloom Festival makes ready!

<a href="http://www.dota2.com/newbloom/day3/"><img class="alignnone" title="So majestic." alt="So majestic." src="http://media.steampowered.com/apps/dota2/images/blogfiles/new_bloom_day3.jpg" width="100%" /></a>

The New Bloom Update will be available tomorrow.
Community Announcements - SZ
New life means new chaos. As the Year Beast stirs from its slumber, a much darker presence prepares to unleash itself upon the world of Dota. But the chaos doesn't end there: every hero, and every power, will feel its impact. The New Bloom Festival approaches!

<a href="http://www.dota2.com/newbloom/day2/"><img class="alignnone" alt="" src="http://media.steampowered.com/apps/dota2/images/blogfiles/new_bloom_day2.jpg" width="100%" /></a>
Community Announcements - SZ
As the cold days grow longer and the first blooms slowly reach above the snow, powers both benevolent and savage have begun to stir. Discover the first of many developments that the coming renewal will bring to the world of Dota. The New Bloom Festival is about to commence!

<a href="http://www.dota2.com/newbloom/day1/"><img class="alignnone" alt="" src="http://media.steampowered.com/apps/dota2/images/blogfiles/new_bloom.jpg" width="100%"" /></a>
PC Gamer

Looking for evening of multiplayer gaming? Come and play with us. We've recently refreshed our UK server list, providing a space for readers to explore, build and... okay, mostly just kill. Whether you enjoy a friendly round of competitive brutality, or a collaborative place to create and share, our Multiplay hosted servers are waiting for you to join.

DayZ Standalone

Visit our version of Chernarus for pleasant strolls around picturesque towns and memorable encounters with local characters. It's a camping trip you'll never forget. Maybe you'll even run into long-term resident Andy Kelly. Pro-tip: Don't run into Andy Kelly.


If spawning unarmed in a brutal and hostile environment doesn't sound like your thing, Rust let's you start with a rock. Our 50-player server will give you plenty of chances to use that rock along the difficult road to survival.


If you've a hankering for creative co-operation and expansive exploration, our Starbound server is for you. You can build, fight, find and live amongst the game's mushrooms, brains and bird people, all with your fellow readers.


Prefer more depth to your builds? Our Minecraft server is a massive and beautiful testament to our readers' creativity. It's a museum of wonder, and one that you can add to. Presuming, that is, you can find some unclaimed land.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

We're a classy bunch at PCG, but that doesn't mean we can't also kick back once in a while. That's why our CS:GO server is running Classic - Casual, cycling through some of the best official maps. Yes, that includes Dust.

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 is still brilliant, and for that reason it's the most enduring game on our server list. Thanks to its age there's a great map pool to pick from, and our 24-player server runs through eighteen of the best. No, that does not include Hydro.
Product Update - Valve
- Fixed items failing to upload from the workshop
- Fixed a crash when disconnecting from a game
PC Gamer
New Bloom Dota

Dota 2's holidays are a volatile thing. Diretide was delayed, and Frostivus is constantly cancelled. Will the fledgling celebration of New Bloom fair any better? Probably. After all, it centres around the arrival of a giant, evil beast that must be smashed and bashed to pieces. In this world of lane-pushing wizardry, violence and terror(blade) would seem to be the secret to long-lasting and untampered festivities.

What are the haps for this most horsey of updates? It's the traditionally twisted spin on real-world celebrations - in this instance the Chinese New Year. The Dota 2 variant involves a Year Beast, a monster both horrifying and valuable. "The same source that imbues the creature with terrible power also covers its being in rare materials, ready to be crafted into unique armaments if they can be pried from its body," explains the New Bloom micro-site.

It's not entirely clear what form the Year Beast will take, but, after having consulted with resident Dota fanatic Chris, there are two possibilities that seem the most likely. The first is that it'll be tied to a new game mode, as with the previous Wraith-Night event. The second, more interesting idea, is that the Year Beast will be a random encounter on the map. The last update already set precedence that new map designs are restricted to unranked play. If New Bloom's Spring map follows the same pattern, it could be that the phasing doom-beast will be a feature of it, leaving ranked play as the serious mode for hardcore wizards.

Hero speculation is also rife, with people reading phrases like "reappear refreshed and renewed" as a sign that Phoenix could be making an appearance. What we do know for sure is that Terrorblade is incoming, as he's the star of the Day 2 reveal.

Even more interesting is the planned introduction of ability draft mode, which sounds like pure, undiluted chaos. "Unlocked at level 11, in this mode each player is randomly assigned a hero, and each hero's abilities are placed into a pool. Players then take turns choosing which abilities their hero will bring into battle. Behold the majesty of a Pouncing Pudge, witness Axe fumbling with Psi Blades, and experience the terror of Illusory Orb Magnus."

Of course, this is only early days for the now-customary Valve update teaser process. Who knows, as future updates arrive, the whole bloody thing could be cancelled.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
The Shacknews Chatty community continues to archive sessions of their favorite games across the large number of Shacknews Twitch channels and many of them have proven vastly entertaining to watch. And so we return with the second week of Chatty Twitch Highlights, featuring wonderfully over-the-top 80's action, virtual reality heart surgery, and a trip to Disneyland. Here's a compilation of some of the best Shacknews Twitch highlights for the week of January 25, 2014.

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