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Science has gone too far. One minute you're enjoying a spot of light testing, the next you're trapped in the infinite, unknowable void between dimensions, outside of space and time itself, staring at the side of your own head through a kaleidoscope. It's remarkable no one has tried it before.

YouTuber CrowbCat used the Portal 2 SDK to set up a test chamber in which two portals could be brought face-to-face. In keeping with scientific spirit, he jumped on in. Somehow, the game doesn't crash and the result is fun to pass off as part of the lore of the universe. In one of an infinite number of Portal timelines, Chell is lost in the orange and blue folds of the fabric of reality. What a way to go.

PC Gamer
PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Call-Outs

Here's an overview of the map, including call-outs that are helpful to learn.

Last week I showed you ways to improve your CT-side. Now we'll have a look at the map from the other perspective.

Most of the time it's best to attack the B-site, but that doesn't mean you don't have to keep the defenders guessing. Go for the occasional A-round and use fakes every now and again.

The reasons why you should attack B most of the time are numerous: It's fairly easy to prefire common angles with the AK, you can rotate to A pretty fast if needed and the B-site is one of the most difficult sites to retake once the terrorists have taken control over it.

How to use drop room to your advantage

I hope you brought your sportswear, because it's time to get sweaty. Once you execute a play through drop you generally have to be really fast unless you want to be trapped and vulnerable to all sorts of grenades. As soon as you hit the floor in drop there's no turning back. This is no place for faint-hearted people!

'Popflash'

A flashbang that is thrown in such a way that it doesn't give players a chance to turn around before it "pops".

I like to use this popflash before I drop down. Yes, it's true that there are more efficient flashes, but that would require one player on your team to stand back and flash instead of joining the push from long B.

MadImpoliteHellbender (gfyCat video)

'Eco Round'

A round where you buy little to no equipment in order to save money for upcoming rounds.

As soon as the flash pops, you and a teammate can drop down and wreak havoc. Decide who takes the right side and who takes the left before you go. The drop popflash combined with a smoke on the left side of drop room might be one of the easiest ways to secure an eco round plant unless your opponents are ready for it.

Simply smoke, flash and go A through connector. If you wait for a few seconds before you make your move, there's a chance the defender on A has already started to sneak up on you from behind, leaving the bombsite open. Note that this strategy is just as effective on normal rounds.

Smokes on B

You can use a few easy smokes to limit the number of angles you have to check once you try to take the site. The first one is used to smoke off the area behind the cube to make sure no optimistic counter-terrorist can kill you from drop room. Line it up, jump, throw. Then wait for a second or two before you throw a flashbang using the same exact throw.

DemandingEnergeticKitty (gfyCat video)

The other smoke I'm going to show you is used to cover one side of hen house. With that smokescreen down you only have to check the right side. But remember that a CT can still hide there. It's crucial that you assign a guy to check hen house once you've taken the site.

On the next page: the question of A.

How do you take A?

You will face a few challenges when you choose to go A. First of all you need to take control over long A and pit, unlike B where you pretty much get long B for free. One of the best ways to secure these areas is by having a teammate pop a flash just past the double doors in pit. Then another player can enter and check all corners. Without a flash you more or less commit suicide by going pit. After that you have control over stairs. That's when a guy on long A should throw a flash through the window and blind any defenders nearby. Hopefully he'll back off and expose himself to the guy waiting in stairs.

FeminineCheeryDamselfly  (gfyCat video)

You may need to practice that flash a few times before you get it right.

Now you've come to the part where you need to slow down the rotation from B. For that purpose you can smoke off connector door and balcony from long A, like this:

SeveralDiscreteBabirusa  (gfyCat video)

While you perform all of these sick moves it's a good idea to let one player fake B with a smoke and a couple of flashbangs, just to further delay the rotation. Another option is to let him use the popflash in drop that I showed you guys earlier and try to get a kill or two. Remember that the defenders will receive the necessary intel and start to rotate long before you actually make the final push on to A-site.

After you've planted the bomb on A, there aren't many post plant positions where you can stay without being vulnerable from at least one common retake angle. I can't stress this enough: It is easier to win rounds when you attack B.

The pistol round

Winning the pistol round is crucial when you play T on Cobblestone. Due to the long sight lines, you're more or less screwed on the second and third round if you don't manage to score big on the pistol round. For the same reason, however, it's difficult to win the pistol round. As you already know, the usp-s and P2000 are far better at long range than your glocks. Therefore I recommend that you buy at least one tec-9 and use it to secure drop room. Just don't forget to flash first. If you secure the first kill you can make life difficult for any remaining defenders by attacking from both drop and long B.

Find our other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map guides here:


Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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You may remember Nipper as the creator of cs_gonehome, a CS:GO map that inserts terrorists and counter-terrorists into the previously machine gun-free setting of Gone Home. Earlier this month Nipper posted cs_wildrefuge, a map based loosely on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which six members of an anti-government militia occupied for 24 days before federal authorities intervened. 

Like the Gone Home map, shooting your way through the site of one of the most controversial news stories of the year reveals an odd mixture of comedy and discomfort. Intentionally or not, the map operates as political criticism, as satire, and simply as a casual siege in the style of cs_militia and thousands of others that have come before it. While the map isn't a 1:1 recreation of the real-life refuge, it's more detailed than you'd expect for something created in reaction to national news. I've recorded some footage in the video above; a snowy compound of closed buildings surround an interior, main building where the pair of 'bird watchers' are held captive beside couches and brochure stands.

Nipper explains the map's backstory on its Steam Workshop page:

"A group of heavily armed patriots known only as 'Vanilla Isis' have decided to launch a rebellion against their tyrannical government! Using their brilliant tactical mind they chose their first target: a mostly unoccupied bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge. After about 2 days of holding this territory from the feds they have unfortunately run out of vital supplies like slim jims, energy drinks and beer. In an act of desperation for more supplies they have taken a couple of orange jumpsuit wearing bird watchers hostage. Now with human lives at stake the feds have been forced to respond."

Supplies are running low. In the stash: apples, 'Sophia's' microwave dinners, fresh potatoes, vanilla drink, assorted juice.

What a time to be alive, where we can where we can play out the political events of our time in team deathmatch as they're still happening. What would a CS:GO map based on the Boston Massacre look like? cs_wildrefuge isn't the first map modeled after a controversial event, of course—fy_abbottabad, a more authentic recreation of Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound, was a well-circulated Counter-Strike: Source map in 2011.

You can download cs_wildrefuge from Steam Workshop.

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Back in July, Valve asked Counter-Strike: Global Offensive server operators to stop providing services that falsify the contents of a player's profile or inventory, like letting them have temporary ownership of items that aren't in their inventory. We will continue to monitor the players experience on community servers, and may reevaluate if further actions need to be taken to ensure that server operators comply, it warned in the Server Operation Guidelines. And It would now seem that Reevaulation Day has come.

The first indication that the hammer had fallen came a few days ago by way of the CSGO_Servers mailing list, when server operators began reporting surprise bans of server login tokens. That led to a beefy Reddit thread and a debate about whether Valve's warning included completely custom weapon models, which some operators thought were allowed, and complaints that some of the banned servers simply had inactive plugins sitting in a disabled directory. Despite some operators' claims that the server restrictions don't cover their specific circumstances, Valve appears to be drawing a hard line in the sand.

In January 2016, we permanently disabled Game Server Login Tokens belonging to server operators that were providing free or paid services that falsified the contents of a player s profile or inventory. The Steam user that generated the tokens is now also permanently restricted from creating new GSLTs, it wrote. A new Steam user account associated with a new qualifying phone number (http://www.steamcommunity.com/dev/managegameservers) will be required to create new GSLTs. To avoid future disruption game server operators are best advised to comply with CS:GO server operation guidelines described above.

Some Redditors think Valve's crackdown is harsh and punitive, especially against a game that itself originated as a mod, but a large number of others don't seem to mind, or at the very least appear to think that Valve's warning was a sufficient heads-up that shenanigans will not be tolerated. Valve itself took to the CS:GO subreddit to point out that there hasn't been any change to its policy, although an update to the post (which has since been corrected) could be taken to indicate that there was.

Innovation is awesome and almost every mod we see is fine, the rep said. Our only concern, as the community correctly understands, is with mods that specifically misrepresent a player's skill group/rank or the items they own.

Govern yourselves accordingly, as they say.

PC Gamer

The grip of winter can t save you from hot hot electric sport. There s major Dota 2 in China and minor CS:GO in Romania. In League of Legends the North American Championship Series thunders on leaving drama in its wake, and we round off with a bit of punching for good measure. Have a great weekend!


Dota 2: MarsTV League Winter 2015

That's right! 'Winter 2015'. Like the saying goes, it doesn't matter if you're not sure what year it is when you've got a great set of international Dota 2 teams competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's taking place in China, so eight hours ahead of GMT/seven ahead of CET/sixteen ahead of PST. If you tune in over the weekend you can catch the winner's bracket final and a bunch of lower bracket games on Saturday followed by the lower bracket final and grand final on Sunday. The grand final begins at 10:00 GMT/11:00 CET/02:00 PST, and you can find up to date schedule information on Gosugamers. You can also find the English language Azubu stream here.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: PGL European Minor Championship 2016

Eight European CS:GO squads fight for $50,000 in Bucharest. There's a mixture of established and aspiring talent in contention, so this comes recommended to talent scouts as well as fans of the European scene. The group A matches are taking place today, with group B to follow on Saturday followed by playoffs for the top four teams on Sunday. Play begins at 11:00 GMT/12:00 CET/03:00 PST and runs throughout the day. You can find the stream on Twitch.

League of Legends: North American Championship Series

The new season rolls on with a full weekend of play in North America. Expect a lot of action packed into a relatively short span of time, and after a dramatic first week there's a lot to live up to. In particular, look to TSM to want to improve their performance— they face Cloud9 on Saturday and NRG on Sunday. Check out this page on LoLesports for a full schedule and stream info and the main page for the other regional leagues—there are also games in the LCK and LMS over the weekend.

Killer Instinct: World Cup

Yes, yes, it isn't a PC game. If you don't like it, stop asking for fighting game coverage. Even then it won't matter, because fighting games are awesome. In any case: there's $30,000 on the line in San Antonio as the KI community dukes it out for the world title. Find tournament info here and the stream here. At the moment there isn't a schedule available, but expect games throughout the weekend on Pacific time.


Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

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Three Lane Highway

Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2. To read more Three Lane Highway, click here

They've finally done it. The maniacs, they've finally done it. Valve have launched a community Dota 2 event that really works. The Winter 2016 Battle Pass came out yesterday with no warning whatsoever and has, so far, avoided making almost all of the mistakes that Dota 2 events traditionally make. If you've not been playing for long, let's recap the traditional problems:

It's a separate game mode that doesn't really work half the time

eg. New Bloom 2014, New Bloom 2015, Diretide 2012, Diretide 2013

It changes the way people play regular Dota 2

eg. Nemesis Assassin

It's about abusing a system until you get free stuff

eg. New Bloom 2014, New Bloom 2015, Diretide 2012, Diretide 2013

It's fun but a grind

eg. Wraith Night

It's basically gambling with real money

eg. New Bloom 2015

It didn't happen

eg. Diretide 2014

Only one other event that I can think of dodges most of these pitfalls—the wonderful Greeviling, vanished never to return along with Valve's deep but fleeting obsession with dinosaur gremlin muppet creatures, alas.

The Winter 2016 Battle Pass is a lot of things in one. It's this year's replacement for New Bloom, which traditionally ran—as this will—through spring. To that end it introduces a new time-limited quest system, community-spanning meta-objectives, and a bunch of achievements and trophies and so on.

It also includes the compendium for the Shanghai Major, which encompasses the traditional esports tie-in booklet that somebody presumably reads along with a leveling system, temporary in-game rewards, and a lot of new chests and sets. With the exception of a new custom game mode—they've become the exclusive preserve of the 'Arcade' tab—the Battle Pass incorporates almost every idea that Valve have had over the last three and a bit years of running these things.

Except they all work in harmony with each other. And with the exception of a day one duping bug, nothing is terribly broken. And it's not terribly expensive. And it doesn't invite you to sink lots of money after your initial purchase. And it's more about engaging with the game than grinding for specific rewards. And the interface doesn't take thirty seconds to load for no discernable reason.

This provides a kind of compound relief. One, it's a substantial update in its own right, something that Dota badly needs given the long wait between patches and heroes. Two, it's a great use of the Reborn client that makes me glad that we got through that long, messy relaunch. Three, it's a live event that doesn't feel like a funfair being operated as a social experiment by a haywire AI. At least, not as much as usual.

I can list off my 'serious' problems with the update on the fingers of one hand:

  • This Skywrath set shouldn t be red I guess.
  • They shouldn't have nerfed Skywrath's incredibly lengthy 'in the bag' line by making it less likely to play. From my high horse I can see to the ends of the world, and from this vantage point I declare with utter certainty that this is a terrible decision and the game is dead.
  • If they're going to make Skywrath red, at least make him shout his 'in the bag' line over and over so that I know that Legion Commander and Beastmaster's hawk haven't had a baby or something.
  • Pouring money into a compendium that doesn't increase the associated prize pool is still weird.

That's basically one problem and three lots of nonsense! Good job, Valve!

Through all of this, however—the well-implemented quest system and the daily challenges and the gambling and the new sets and the great terrain and the cool seasonal effects and so on and so on—there's one thing that really makes me happy: Valve are talking about player behaviour again.

Tucked away among the new additions is the 'conduct summary', a one-sheet review of your behaviour over the last 25 games that you've played. In the associated FAQ, Valve explain that they want to make the way the game keeps track of player conduct much more transparent. Your report is designed to let you know that, actually, 77% of players don't incur reports. That assholes are outliers. That a single match isn't enough to get you committed to the low priority queue, and that—through all the strife of matchmaking—a handful of people liked you enough to commend you.

This is a positive change in and of itself, but it's the increased communication that clinches it for me. When I spoke to Valve's Erik Johnson last year, he didn't regard player behaviour as a major issue for the game. This is likely because, if you have all of the data in front of you, the amount of players that cause enough trouble to be worth punishing is actually relatively small (the new conduct summary attests to that.) In the intervening time, however, it seems that Valve have realised that they need to open that data up to the community: it's not enough to say 'this isn't a priority' in private and leave people to get frustrated with what they perceive as a toxic player base.

The conduct summary FAQ puts to rest a bunch of urban myths regarding the report system: that you can be bullied into low prio by an ill-meaning party of players, or that the system is rendered ineffective by 'noise'—players filing reports for the wrong reasons. I don't know that the players who most need to read this FAQ will do so, and I suspect that the most serious offenders won't care when their conduct summary flashes up a run of red icons—but it's progress, and it speaks to increased openness on Valve's part.

I'm really pleased with the Battle Pass system, and it has me excited to try and complete all of the objectives before the event ends, but it's this single simple thing that has me hopeful for the future of the game. Valve's long run of experimental community events has finally borne fruit. If they go on to figure out how to encourage better behaviour from the average Dota player, and do so while writing more openly about their working, then I can t think of a better start to 2016.


Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

The longevity of Team Fortress 2 continues to astound me. It became free in 2011, but still Valve is grinding out updates (494 patches as of May 2015), reaping the benefits of the virtual hat trade. The coming months will be huge for Team Fortress: the long-rumoured competitive matchmaking has been confirmed, and a Steam group has been set up to coordinate beta invites.

Matchmaking was brought up in a visit to Valve HQ by the community at teamfortress.tv in April last year. To their surprise, Valve was right onboard with the idea, but this is the first official confirmation of impending change.

As to the group, Valve says it'll "be using this group to send out announcements related to the competitive beta as well as seed beta invites for the expansion of the closed beta". Get on in there.

...

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