PC Gamer
PC Gamer
Three Lane Highway

Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general.

One of my favourite memories of The International 2013 was the phenomenon of the hidden Valve developer. Back then, the company seemed to regard the event as a cross between a holiday and a giant hobby project. Aside from the staff of Benaroya Hall itself—most of whom looked by turns delighted and baffled by what their concert venue was being used for—there were very few contractors involved in the running of the show. Valve employees swarmed in from Bellevue and picked up any jobs that weren't covered by venue staff or the external team of casters and analysts.

This was also the last year that there was a voice actor signing booth. It was popular, and I knew that a couple of the guys organising the queue worked at Valve. It's not the kind of thing you'd notice if you weren't already aware: just a group of dudes making sure that nobody skipped to the front of the line. Fans came up, got their stuff signed, and had their pass scanned for a chance at special in-game items. Nobody looked twice at the person holding the scanner, even though he happened to be the guy who wrote Half-Life.

I bring this up chiefly to highlight the way that the International has changed. 2014 was different—KeyArena, unlike Benaroya Hall, is designed to ferry large numbers of people from arena to food hall to merchandise stand and back to the arena without much external intervention. Venue staff picked up the rest. The Valve guys I recognised were either watching the show in one of the upper booths or working on the Secret Shop. It was a larger, more professional operation, as I imagine this year's will be.

I've been thinking about this in the wake of the rumour—via this Daily Dot article from Richard Lewis—that Valve plan to run the three Dota 2 Majors by itself. If you're unaware, the Majors were announced last month. They're seasonal tournaments designed to stabilise the professional Dota scene by providing players and spectators with milestone events to look forward to throughout the year, culminating in the International. The existence of the Majors suggests that Valve are interested in taking a more direct hand in steering Dota 2 as an esport. This is particularly visible in the introduction of 'trade periods', which will prevent dramatic last-minute roster shakeups for participating teams. This is better for spectators and showrunners but worse for teams, and therefore it's the kind of thing that only Valve have the power to enforce.

In the initial announcement, however, Valve made it clear that the Majors would be held around the world by third party showrunners operating on Valve's behalf—and given that Counter-Strike GO works this way, there's already precedent for this. Yet Lewis' article suggests that something has changed, and that Valve intends to move the entire thing in-house.

As Lewis notes, this could have significant consequences for independent tournament operators. It also, however, signifies a substantial philosophical shift on Valve's part.

It's not that Valve couldn't afford to run tournaments around the world—of course they could—but that previously, they wouldn't. The company's structure heavily discourages hiring people for a specific job or whose skills are not broadly related to game development. This is how that 'wheely-desk' thing is made to operate: everybody at Valve can, ostensibly, wheel their desk over to a different project and arrive with enough skills and experience to make themselves useful. It's not a system that easily accepts the addition of a whole new discipline or skillset, which is why the company's approach to support and community management has always been so spotty—hiring a dedicated crew for one or the other goes against this basic philosophy.

The reason Dota 2's writing team was looking after a queue at TI3 was partly because it was fun, but also because that's the only way that role can be filled within Valve's current structure. It seems unlikely that said team is now planning to spend their time running esports events around the world.

This means that Valve are either planning to outsource the running of the Majors (in which case it'd make sense to contract a third party that already does so, and Lewis' sources are wrong) or they're hiring an events management team. Unless they find a bunch of event managers who are also programmers and concept artists, this seems like a big leap for them to take.

For that reason, I'm taking the rumour with a pinch of salt. I'm not even particularly sure that it's necessary for Valve to run the Majors in order for them to have the desired effect: the professional Dota community will fall in line around the new events regardless of who is taking tickets on the door on the day. Nobody is going to opt-out of the new roster formation system if it means losing a shot at the International. If Valve really are running the show themselves from now on, then, it's a change driven by something other than practical necessity—one that implies that the company's perception of itself is changing. That, in and of itself, is just as exciting as a new set of Dota events. What's next? A Riot-style community management team?

Wait, never mind. That'll never happen.

To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

PC Gamer
One of the added community maps, de_zoo.

Valve deployed an update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive this evening that adds Operation Bloodhound, a fresh set of community maps and weapon skins that you can pay $7 for the chance to play and earn.

Rails, Resort, Zoo, Log, and re-released versions of Agency and Season are included in the Bloodhound Access Pass, which also opens up two new campaigns, a continuation of the web of challenges players can complete to earn weapon skins or unlockable crates.

New maps are welcome, but the packaged metagame content is the least interesting aspect of CS:GO to me—I d much rather weapon unlocks be attached to an enhanced stats system that helps me understand where I m at as a player. Instead, Valve has added another layer of profile progression, Profile Rank. As you increase your Profile Rank, not only will your CS:GO profile evolve to show off your new title and icon; but the first time you rank up each week will earn you a weapon drop. It s weird that player profiles will have two pseudo-military ranks—one to measure their competitive skill, and another to measure how much they ve played across all modes.

Other than map tweaks, there are no stated changes to weapon balance or other aspects of CS:GO. I do like that the match timer for casual has been cut by 45 seconds to a more respectful 2:15, but otherwise the focus of this update is squarely on shoving more maps, monetized missions, and weapon skins into the game. But hey, the new Falchion knife (already listing at about $400 at the time of this post) has a cool animation, I guess.

PC Gamer
Photos courtesy ESL.
TRIGGERNOMETRY

We write about FPSes each week in Triggernometry, a mixture of tips, esports, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.

To witness greatness in real-time is a rare gift. From Michael Jordan's second three-peat run with the Bulls to Gretzky's titles with the Oilers, many wish they could be transported back to see such feats unfold in their moment of taking place. The greatest lineup in CS:GO history may very well be the current FNATIC lineup, and it's far from done yet.

This five man FNATIC squad, completed late last June, has amassed a record which gives them a legitimate claim to the throne of the great Ninjas in Pyjamas, which seemed impossible to even approach. FNATIC has won 10 offline titles, made 13 finals and reached the top four in 17 out of 18 tournaments. Teams like LDLC (now EnVyUs) and TSM have had their moments, the latter perhaps still on-going, where they appeared to be the best team in the world, but the FNATIC train keeps rolling along and consistently gets deep in tournaments and then out-paces its rivals by being better against the field.

The personnel to dominate

The easy way to describe a historically dominant line-up like this would be to say that they're simply 'too good,' but in a sense that's accurate. FNATIC's success has come first and foremost as a result of having a line-up which is too good in terms of talent and the roles they can perform at a world class level in. In the early days of their initial run of dominance, beginning in October, they were led by the impeccable fundamentals of KRiMZ, locking down bombsites entirely and helping define a meta of CT-side dominance, which would sweep the entire top end of the CS:GO scene.

The sidekick at that time was JW, the impossible-to-predict and supremely explosive AWPer/rifler hybrid. With KRiMZ's providing a solid backbone to the team and the others being excellent team-players, JW was freed up to be the ultimate wild-card player, going where he pleased and finding the right moments from which to explode into opposing teams. While those two have had their moments and tournaments since, the new star of the team has been olofmeister, whose skill level is ridiculous. Olof is an all-around package player the likes of which has probably never been seen before in CS:GO, as he is one of the world's elite riflers and yet can also AWP as well as almost every primary sniper in the game.

Spurred on by olof's individual peak, FNATIC have been able to supplement his play with much-improved form by Flusha, the man whose dip in form late last year and early into this year partially accounted for FNATIC's brief drop-off. Flusha is not just the reliable clutch round player he built his career upon being but has recently also been topping scoreboards and even bringing some sniping into his game, successfully. FNATIC take the cliche "embarrassment of riches" and make it seem only apt to describe the luxuries they possess in terms of players. Take any other top five side in CS:GO and switch around which players will carry the team and you'll likely find yourself with a significantly worse team, while FNATIC are again winning titles and reaching finals again and again, even winning their major in the post-KRiMZ era.

Gods of Inferno

In two of FNATIC's early big international offline competitions they found key losses on inferno contributing to their elimination. That map would become both the home ground for FNATIC in the coming months and one of the most dominant maps of any team in the game's history. A team mastering a specific map is an often overlooked aspect of dominance. Ideally, it should be one that other elite teams play, ensuring it won't be banned, and then forces respect bans from lesser teams, opening the map pool even more for the dominant team. FNATIC's Inferno is the perfect example of such a scenario in CS:GO.

FNATIC have lost less than 10 times offline on inferno with this lineup, despite having played it at least 32 times. This was the map which both put all of the FNATIC players in their ideal positions, but also took advantage of the massively CT-sided meta of late 2014. Today, FNATIC still maintain their dominance in the map, despite the meta having shifted and teams racking up many more T-side rounds in a time when the Tec-9 is particularly strong.

Still going

While the great NiP lineup is long gone and they seek to establish a new championship team, FNATIC is still very much in the flow of their run of greatness. Winning their last two events and having made the final of four of their last five offline events, FNATIC are still the best team in the world and the best against the overall field of teams. Their last title came after a brutal 3:0 victory over Virtus.pro, a great CS:GO line-up in their own right, in the final of Gfinity Spring Masters II. FNATIC have more in the tank, so tune into their greatness at an upcoming CS:GO tournament.

PC Gamer

I've never played the Killzone games, owing to the fact that I don't possess the precise living room box required, but now at least I've gotten a taste of the Helghast. Killzone Source doesn't recreate an entire Killzone game in HL2, but provides a particular mission called Strange Company.

It represents several years of work by Moddb member zombiegames, and while I can't personally vouch for its representation of Killzone, it's pretty cool and looks great. With an AI companion, you fight your way through the interiors of a multi-floor building, battling Helghast at every turn, then proceed outside for more gunplay. You can carry a pistol and one of several rifles, use frag grenades, and are also armed with a knife. The Helghast look great, and I don't know if this is true of the original game, but they scream entertainingly when they die. Every time. I couldn't get enough of it.

They're tough as hell, too. Even on normal difficulty they killed me repeatedly. I had to disable AI using the Source console just to get close enough to them to take their pictures. At one point a dropship appeared over a shattered courtyard and they rappelled down on ropes in front of me. They're also pretty good at using grenades.

My AI companion was a little worthless in a fight, but she's still cool to hang out with. While I was remapping my keys (the default keybindings are a little odd) she helped herself to a soda from a vending machine. 

The guns are fun to use, and plenty challenging due to recoil, and the maps are dressed with various bits of detail like Helghast propaganda. There are some other touches, like flying enemy drone that I presume has roots in the original game.

To play, you just need a Steam account and to have the opt-in beta of Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer installed. For the beta, right-click the SDK base on Steam, select properties, open the Beta tab and choose '-upcoming' from the list. (You don't need to input a beta access code.)

As for the mod itself, here's its page on Moddb. If you've tried it, and you have experience with the Killzone games, I'd love to hear if you think it's a faithful recreation of the mission.

PC Gamer

Three Lane Highway

Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general.

Last weekend I spent almost exactly two and a half hours in the International Open Qualifiers. I wrote beforehand that I'd have been delighted to get through the first round, and technically that's what happened. Technically. As it happened, our first round opponent didn't show up and we waited, waited, waited for the game that'd determine our next match to finish. It started late and ran long, meaning that we were sat on Skype for almost two hours building KSP rockets and tinkering with Invisible, Inc. Eventually, we got to play. Then, soundly outmatched, we lost in under half an hour.

I'd hoped to be able to roll into this week's column with a better story than that, but that's more or less the extent of it. We didn't acquit ourselves terribly, but it turns out that if you lose all three lanes and they have a draft that can teamfight early and push then it's pretty hard to fight your way back into the game.

We were disappointed but neither particularly surprised nor particularly disheartened. We had some very specific shot-calling and strategic problems to solve, but we understood them and they seemed solvable. A similarly positive line of thought was this: that we'd lost but understood why, knew that our opponents had much more experience of the game than us but could also see the road from where we are to where they are. And so on. There's comfort in seeing your failure in these granular terms, in picking out the little things that went well and appreciating the skill it took to make other things go so badly.

That's the note we ended on. Since then, I've been thinking about a lot. I've started to suspect that, in reality, that sense of a linear course between you and a superior opponent is actually pretty misleading.

For one thing, your ability to parse why an opponent has been successful is very much grounded in your own experience of the game—in the sorts of things you value, and therefore in your own conception of how you win. When you watch somebody play well and think 'I could do that', you're probably focusing on the aspects of their play that you already understand—i.e, exactly the stuff you don't need to learn.

That's a pretty disheartening thing to realise, particularly because it means that raw practice isn't a catch-all solution to an experience deficit. It's not enough to dump time into the game: you have to learn to invest that time into the right places. With that in mind, then, it's useful to identify the way in which the nature of skill changes as players become more experienced. Not 'improved'—changed.

I found this chart, by Redditor Ave-Nar, pretty interesting. Here's the original thread. It illustrates the changes in hero win rates both across different patches and across multiple skill levels—normal, high and very high in this case. There are some really interesting patterns, and these patterns tell us not just about the heroes themselves but how they relate to player skill.

Take, for example, Necrophos in 6.82 and Omniknight in 6.84. Both show a high winrate that declines linearly as you progress from normal to very high—a downwards diagonal slant. Although they are played in different positions, both heroes also have a similar impact on the game (tremendous teamfight sustain and laning presence) and are, crucially, straightforward to play. An Omniknight only needs to press R at the right time to completely tip a pub-level teamfight where half of the players have locked physical damage carries. A sub-par Necrophos can get away with spamming Q and using R to steal everybody's kills—the fact that he is also healing his allies and extending enemy respawn times as he does it is a bonus that the normal skill-level player doesn't really need to think about too much.

As a result, winrate declines with skill—because better players know how to work or counterpick both of these heroes, and neither of them have very many options when they've been outmaneuvered or outplayed. That linear decline demonstrates something basic: that as players get better, they get better at denying the enemy an easy way to win.

Contrast with Undying in 6.84. His pattern is similar to Troll Warlord in 6.83—lowest winrate in normal skill, highest in high skill and then a dip down again in very high skill. This inverted 'check' shape is really interesting. Undying in particular is a hero that requires a bit of expertise to use properly. You need to know how to gauge the impact of stolen strength on an enemy. You need to understand how to position a tombstone, and particularly how the many recent changes interact with his skillset—I still encounter people trying to counterpick Undying with Bristleback who look surprised when the quills do nothing to the zombies. In short, you don't need to be a great player to use Undying effectively but you need a fundamental understanding of how Dota works and how it has changed over time.

You also need to understand drafting, to a degree. You need to be able to both pick a partner for Undying and know where to lane him to do the most damage to the enemy's laning phase. All of this is what signifies a high skill player—and explains why Undying's winrate takes a huge leap between the two brackets.

Then, in very high, he falls off. With good reason—the best players can do all of the above and understand that their opponent is also doing all of the above. If an Undying pick is likely, a very good player will have planned for it. The process of getting better at Dota—as with other competitive games—is one of gradually transitioning from a focus on you to a focus on them.

Put it another way: as skill increases, player aspirations change. This is a generalisation, but the trend is for lower-level players to enter a game with a plan that they intend to execute. Land a lot of Pudge hooks. Play Void—whatever it is. They understand this plan in and of itself, they understand the hero and the items they need, but the plan doesn't take into account the enemy. Thing is, the enemy isn't thinking about them either. Two self-focused plans smack into one another and 50% of the time yours comes out on top.

Then comes outdrafting, whether by directly countering picks or simply by playing the meta. This involves a better understanding of the game and some sense of what the enemy's strategy might be, but it's still ultimately a series of decisions that are focused on the self. The composition of most pub drafts is, I think, the product of these two forces acting against each other: someone vanity picks, so somebody does an obvious counter-pick, and so on, where actual team-wide synergy is a rarity.

Improvement, then, is a matter of moving steadily away from understanding what you want to do—or what you might be able to do—and towards what your opponent wants to do. Towards figuring out what their dream looks like, and breaking it. It's never that simple, of course—if I understood everything that went into making that work, I wouldn't be shit at Dota. But thinking along these lines is useful because it gives you the shape of a solution if not the steps to get there: getting there is, after all, is a matter of time. It's not enough to look at an opponent and think 'that could be me'. When you have that extra experience, you don't want to want to be them. You want to look at the way they play and see all of the holes.

To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

PC Gamer

TRIGGERNOMETRY

We write about FPSes each week in Triggernometry, a mixture of tips, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.

When I launch CS:GO and my eyes wander over my ever-growing pile of Hours Played, a thought often eats away at me. I ve put hundreds of hours into Terrorisming and Counter-Terrorisming—thousands if you include Source and 1.6. I spend more time playing CS:GO than I do interacting with my loved ones. How the hell am I not a Counter-Strike master yet?

The truth is that getting better at Counter-Strike by only playing Counter-Strike can be a really slow, ineffective way to get better at Counter-Strike. Especially if you aren t taking the time to watch and analyze your own matches, it s possible to spend months or years making the same mistakes.

Fundamental parts of Counter-Strike are opaque. Which surfaces can and can t be penetrated, and by which weapons?  How do flashes work? Can a player that loses the first two rounds of a match afford an AWP? You have to be willing to do some homework and take in raw facts about the game, information that drives deeper realizations about how it can be played.

For me, that learning has opened up a better appreciation of CS. When I embraced it a long time ago, the game went from being about motor skills to being a chess match about money and clock management, scouting, feints, morale, reading audio cues, and play calling.

That said, there s an infinite amount of information you can lay eyes on to study. Below, I ve gathered a set of recommended videos for players who want to gain the confidence to play competitively or get over some of their existing matchmaking hurdles.

Rifle spray patterns, techniques

Rifles are the bread and butter of Counter-Strike at all levels, and understanding how they work (and their key differences) is equivalent to a basketball player working on their free-throws. CS:GO pro adreN is really direct in his advice ( Never crouch, it has no effect on your recoil ; You should never start off with a spray at this range ) and talks about how to manage shooting while moving.

Money management

The second of three videos in a series about CS:GO s economy, TheWarOwl digs into the mentality around buying and saving in CS in the early stages of a match, when adhering to certain guidelines is especially important. I like the way he compares the practice of predicting your opponent s economy to counting cards in blackjack.

Chokepoint timings

Counter-Strike is carefully tuned so that CTs and Ts have to rush out of their spawn points in order to establish map control. Playing with the timings (by, say, throwing a grenade at a certain spot to stop a rush) at these meeting points between is central to succeeding at CS.

Mouse sensitivity

The advice I give to everyone is to make your sensitivity as low as possible while still being able to turn 180 degrees consistently.

Flashbangs

For my money, flashbangs are the least-practiced, most misunderstood aspect of CS. So many players simply go through the motions of buying and carelessly throwing flashbangs without knowing whether (or how) effective they are against an opponent. My video from earlier this year touches on two basic techniques for flashbanging and breaks down the geometric rules that determine whether someone gets blinded by one.

PC Gamer

Every highly-specific hobby you can imagine has a dedicated home on YouTube. Backyard metallurgy46-minute marathon Kinder Egg openingsChildren in suits evaluating junk food. YouTuber ZaziNombies makes Lego game guns, and he's pieced together everything from the Scout's Force-A-Nature to a whole series of zappers from Destiny.

Joining that armory this week is Counter-Strike's iconic long gun: the AWP. ZaziNombies used about 1100 Lego pieces to put together a four-foot-long facsimile, including a convincing reconstruction of the AWP's optics that's mostly tires. You can tell he's done this before. The color is more mint than the AWP's classic olive drab, the plastic rounds seem smaller than the .338 Lapua that AWPs allegedly shoot, and the trivia ZaziNombies rattles off is clearly from a Wiki, but otherwise the resemblance is striking.

PC Gamer

Three Lane Highway

Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general.

You know who's fun at the moment? Beastmaster. Back when I started to take five-man Dota seriously I played him a lot—he was one of my first dedicated solo offlaners. The pushing power. The free ward. The versatile ult. The way he sometimes says 'who's stool is this?' while moving, suggesting that at least one Dota hero spends a certain amount of time shitting in the woods (looking at you, Ursa.)

I fondly refer to him as 'Beefmaster', and he is one of two heroes—the other being Axe—that I have ever committed to fully roleplaying during a solo ranked game of Dota. 'WHO KILLED MY PIG', I'd bellow in all-chat. 'I'M COMING FOR YOU.'

He's great in 6.84, one of my favourite characters to play in the era of level one bounty rune fights. His buffed base damage isn't as absurdly high as Treant Protector, but he's faster and I've found that most players haven't quite internalised just how hard he hits. Encounter a lone enemy moving to secure a bounty rune and you've probably just got first blood. Get the rune too and there's your level 2, your brown boots, and an Orb of Venom. After that, the offlane is a party.

I bring this up because Beastmaster, like Axe and Rubick, is one of my silly heroes. Which isn't to say that these aren't impactful characters, but that I'm noisier when I'm playing them than at any other time. After two thousand hours I'm still amused by the fact that Beastmaster's ult amounts to yelling really loud, and I remain incapable of doing it without trying to reflect some of that bravado. I mean, come on. The guy yells so loud it stuns couriers.

I blink, I ult, and I rely on the fact that I've just bellowed 'BOO' or 'NO' or 'OI' over Skype to let my teammates know that, er, I've probably started a teamfight. This is fine, I think, in the context of a pub game with friends. One important aspect of Dota, something that sits aside from its competitive nature, is the sense in which it is a performance you put on for your friends. It's not just about stomping noobs, or at least it shouldn't be. Dota is also entertainment and a lot of that entertainment is provided by the people you play with.

Not everybody plays that way, of course, but I suspect everybody knows somebody who does. This isn't just limited to the trench: old-Na'Vi were as well known for their sense of style as their ability to win games. There is a whole strata of pro players—Dendi, SingSing, N0tail, AdmiralBulldog, among others—who are entertaining showmen as well as skilled players. They enter into the spirit of the game when it's appropriate.

Yelling along with Beastmaster was something I started doing without really thinking about it—I was having fun, and expressed that in the way I acted. Thinking about it recently, however, I realised that this drive to put on a show affected the way I played in more substantial ways.

I realised that there are certain types of play that I'd avoid declaring to my team before I did them: flashy initiations and silly gambits that I'd launch into without warning to avoid spoiling the surprise. I played not only to win, but for the gratification of delivering a first blood or a multi-kill that nobody else on my side expected. I'd attempt to secretly build Dagons during matches that we were already winning. Sometimes, the instinct to say 'hey guys—watch this' would lose games that we were already winning.

It sounds like the dumbest thing in the world, and it probably is—but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I wasn't alone. This attitude is fairly common in Dota. It determines a lot about which heroes are popular. Everybody wants to be seen landing the star Pudge hooks. Everybody wants to be the Faceless Void that gets the perfect five-man Chronosphere and subsequent rampage. Being seen to succeed is as important, for many, as succeeding.

In identifying this, I identified a gap in the way my team communicated with each other. I've always taken communication a lot more seriously when playing 'properly'—by which I mean team ranked matchmaking, a little JoinDota League, and the forthcoming TI5 Open Qualifiers (we're doomed)—but I'd not really solved the problem of the 'surprise play'. It was a behaviour pattern that both myself, our midlaner and our carry shared. We'd communicate openly until it became more fun not to.

Not intentionally, of course. This is just another unexamined instinct, something you pick up during the thousands of hours it takes to get semi-competent at Dota and that, if you don't face it down directly, can ultimately hold you back.

The solution was to introduce a really simple rule for communication in games that matter: talk constantly about the match. Offer as close to a running commentary as you can. Talk about how your farm is going. Talk about what the enemy supports are doing, how their midlaner is doing. When you see an opening for a play, say something—even if it ruins the 'surprise'.

I've found it helpful to temper this by asking teammates to avoid talking about non-match-related topics (including Dota more broadly) until the game is over. This also means no more Beastmaster-yelling—but we've got random pub matches for that. Organised Dota is about teamwork, and teamwork means communicating continually and openly about your experience of the game.

It also means being selfless. This is an angle I keep coming back to, it seems: that learning to play Dota better often means learning to dial back your own selfish instincts. Anybody who has ever stood on a stage knows that it takes a certain amount of ego to get there, even if the point of that ego is the performance you subsequently deliver to others. Dota 2 is a stage, too, sometimes, but your teammates aren't your audience. They're up there with you. They're not the people you need to impress. And if you're about to do something brave or stupid they should probably know.

To read more Three Lane Highway, click here.

PC Gamer
TRIGGERNOMETRY

We write about FPSes each week in Triggernometry, a mixture of tips, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.

The Counter-Strike community, and modders in general, have a long history of remaking film and TV settings as maps. Years ago I gunned through everything from the Batcave to the island from Lost in Counter-Strike: Source and CS 1.6. That tradition continues in de_peachtrees by Nipper, a recreation of the massive apartment tower that Karl Urban fights his way up over the course of Dredd (which, its borrowing of The Raid's concept notwithstanding, is one of my favorite action movies of the past few years).

How well does this homage hold up as a casual or competitive CS map, though? I take a look at de_peachtrees along with de_resort and de_sub in the video above.

...

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