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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive could get its own international tournament">Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Dota 2's The International has been immensely popular, with more than $10 million worth of crowdfunded prizes up for grabs. It's no surprise, given Dota 2's Steam domination. So it only makes sense that Valve should consider the same treatment for some of its other properties. Obviously, a Counter-Strike international tournament would not go astray.

Speaking in a video interview with Prodota.ru, Valve's Erik Johnson indicated that the company is giving serious thought to the possibility.

I don t know if it would be called The International, but the guys working on Counter-Strike made a lot of progress on supporting the professional community around that game, Johnson said. We all work at the same company and share a lot of ideas, and given how successful this tournament has become I don t see any reason why a lot of the same things couldn't be applied directly to Counter-Strike.

Johnson didn't confirm outright, of course, but it seems a no-brainer that Valve should instate a similar competition for the enduring tactical shooter: it had 9 million players as of April. An impressive number for sure, but nonetheless dwarved by Dota 2's 26 million.

Thanks Gamespot.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The PC Gamer Show episode 1: Killing Floor 2, Nidhogg, 4K gaming">pcgamershow-ep1-teaser

It's The PC Gamer Show! For episode one, we talked to Tripwire Interactive about upcoming shooter Killing Floor 2, played a high stakes game of Nidhogg with serious embarrassment on the line, and got our hands on a new Samsung 4K monitor.

In this episode...

Act I: Evan chats with Tripwire Interactive president John Gibson about Killing Floor 2. Gibson talks about what the team has been working on since our Killing Floor 2 cover story, including motion captured reloads and gore that looks like BBQ chicken.

Act II: Wes and Cory take a break from deadline day to play Nidhogg, with high stakes. Guest starring PC Gamer mascot emeritus Coconut Monkey.

Act III: Tyler and Wes talk about the performance and drawbacks of 4K gaming after testing out the Samsung 590D 4K monitor.

The PC Gamer Show is a new and evolving project for us, and we want your feedback to help make it better. What kind of segments do you want to see? What games should we play and talk about? Who should we have on as guests? What's coming up next?

Shout at us in the comments below, or shoot us an email directly at letters@pcgamer.com. We're listening. And we'll see you in two weeks.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Why a CS:GO sale hurts CS:GO">cs-go-sale

I want more people to play CS:GO. With caveats made for its flaws (64-tick servers, uninspiring stat tracking, the modest number of official maps, and imperfect cheat detection), CS:GO is the best competitive FPS on PC today. Until Evolve or Rainbow Six Siege come around, I expect that to continue uncontested.

But for the veteran player, someone who s thrown hundreds of hours at that competitive mode, a CS:GO Steam sale like today s $7.49 / 5.99 until Friday isn t a happy event. It s a harbinger of hackers and competition-souring smurf accounts.

CS:GO s price drop is an invitation for those who hack to buy one or several new copies of the game and tie them to new, unique Steam accounts. These secondary accounts insulate your main profile where you keep your game library and everything else that s valuable from the consequences of cheating. We ve recently investigated the seemingly healthy shadow industry of cheating in games like CS:GO, but it s worth underlining how especially disruptive cheating is in the second-most popular game on Steam.

What s challenging about hacking in CS:GO is that much of the onus is on the players to report and police themselves, but competitive play makes it inherently difficult or time-consuming to verify a hacker. Naturally, you re not allowed to spectate an opponent mid-match, so if I want to be sure that someone s playing illegitimately, I have to be mad enough to take the time to stop playing, load up my match replay, scrutinize my opponent s actions, report them, and then just trust that the system will catch them.

There s no immediate judgment or verification that you caught a hacker; users that receive enough reports, to my understanding, are simply passed along to CS:GO s Overwatch system, where a player (who s recorded at least 150 wins in competitive mode) watches excerpts of the match and makes a judgment. Reporting a hacker is like calling a 911 line that cannot talk back to you. It s an unsatisfying system even when it works, and I m upset knowing that CS:GO s sale will invite more abusers into the system.

You also can t simply leave a match to avoid subjecting yourself to a hacker. Abandoning a match for any reason penalizes you, preventing you from playing competitive mode for a period for days at a time, for frequent offenders.

But smurf accounts, at least from my experience, are the lesser but more ubiquitous annoyance that a discounted CS:GO stimulates. To the seasoned competitive player, the signs of a smurf are much more obvious than a hacker: you look for a CS:GO profile with very few achievements unlocked or custom weapon skins equipped, tied to a Steam account with CS:GO as its only owned game ( Wow, such dedication. So hardcore, I usually type mockingly when I encounter one of these players). Having one or more smurfs in your match is more subtle disruption but often just as bothersome as hacking: smurf accounts don t receive a rank in the matchmaking system until they ve won 10 games, allowing them to be matched with players that aren t at their true skill level.

It s a method of circumventing the matchmaking system (often as a way to play with friends who aren t near the same rank), one not unfamiliar to League of Legends players and other free-to-play games. When I m up against such a player, there s no tool within the reporting system for me to flag their account and why should there be? As far as Valve s concerned, that player is another legitimate customer. Solutions like IP banning would be over-aggressive: what if that account is legitimately a friend or sibling?

I want to see the CS:GO community grow, but I bemoan that the game I play most going on sale will probably mean that I'll encounter a few more cheaters and rank-dodging players in the next month or two. To give Valve credit, this isn t the cheapest we ve seen CS:GO. In December, January, and March (the latter coinciding with the EMS One Katowice tournament in Poland), the game was slashed by 75% to just $3.74. The 50% cut over the next two days may be a small compromise, but I don't doubt that it'll invite more players to circumvent matchmaking and play illegitimately.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 7">steam sale day 7

We've now been living and breathing the Steam Summer Sale for a week, losing sleep for every flash sale, antsy with anticipation every time the new deals tick over. We're feverish from the savings, but it would be madness to stop saving now. Today's deals fuel our appetite for strategy, shooting, and launching valiant little green men into space on absurdly oversized rockets.

Don t forget to check out GOG s summer deals, too.

Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.

5 - The Banner Saga

50% off: $12.49 / 9.49 - Steam store page

One of the biggest artistic achievements in gaming this year. We love The Banner Saga s hand-drawn characters and how they animate on the battlefield, but we especially enjoy the way its detailed, Nordic landscapes parallax as your caravan of warriors and survivors march on. The Austin Wintory score is a cherry on the top.

4 - Kerbal Space Program

40% off: $16.19 / 11.99 - Steam store page

We ve murdered a lot of aliens in games, but only in KSP have we stranded little green guys in planetary orbit due to our grossly incompetent management of a budding space program. The Early Access rocket physics simulator is one of the best games still under development, and already has a large community of engineers sharing stories of harrowing space missions, ship designs, and mods. KSP has even made its way into classrooms.

Read Ian s five-part Kerbal Space Program chronicle to see how he learned rocket-building basics and launched a mission to the M n.

3 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

50% off: $7.49 / 5.99 - Steam store page

The best competitive FPS on PC owes a lot to its skill-based matchmaking format. At any skill level, five-on-five Counter-Strike narrows the range of tactical choices available to you and the time you have to make them, creating a wonderfully concentrated competitive mode. Otherwise, CS:GO is mainly a vehicle for microtransactions: beware the allure of $400 virtual knives.

2 - Tomb Raider

75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST

Lara Croft returns in a gorgeous action game heavily inspired by Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. This younger, rebooted Lara doesn't have her predecessor's confidence or predilection for interesting puzzles the only tombs in this game are disappointingly short and simple but the shooting is by far the best in the series. Exploring Tomb Raider's island and crafting survival gear is also fun, as Lara is a nimble climber and each area is packed with interesting treasures to hunt down. For a challenge, forgo the assault rifle and grenade launcher for Lara's incredibly satisfying (and silent!) bow.

1 - BioShock Triple Pack

83% off: $10.19 / 6.79 - Steam store page

If you haven t explored the ruins of Rapture, you re in for a treat. BioShock s world is a revelation, an under-the-sea society that s crumbled under its own weight, and exploring what remains of it and shooting its crazy inhabitants in the face with fireballs is a delight. BioShock 2 goes even further, changing your perspective and adding a surprising amount of depth with its own story. Irrational s swansong, BioShock Infinite, may still be polarizing, but Columbia is just as beautiful and terrifying as Rapture, and well worth exploring. All three are included here in a bundle that s too cheap to pass up.

Other great deals today

Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further later in the sale.

Bastion (40% off) $8.99 / 6.59

Killing Floor (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49

Mirror's Edge (75% off) $4.99 / 2.49

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (66% off) $6.79 / 5.09
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Valve announces $250,000 community-funded prize pool for CS:GO winners at ESL One in Cologne">news_1

The world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will compete for a $250,000 "community-funded" prize pool at ESL One Cologne 2014, Valve announced today. The prize money was raised through last year's Arms Deal Update for CS: GO, which directed proceeds from sales of a special eSports weapon case toward larger prize pools and greater visibility for competitive gaming.

ESL One Cologne will run from August 14 to 17 at Gamescom, and will feature 16 top teams, including eight regional qualifiers and eight invited quarter-finalists from EMS One Katowice:


Ninjas in Pyjamas

Team Dignitas

TEAMGLOBAL (former LGB eSports)

compLexity Gaming


Team LDLC.com


"Having watched the finals in Katowice it will be absolutely brilliant to watch Virtus.pro and Ninjas in Pyjamas take the stage again in Cologne," ESL Product Manager Alexander Nehr said. "With exciting teams such as Team Dignitas and HellRaisers, who constantly improve their gameplay to surprise their opponents, the tournament looks to be fantastic."

ESL One Cologne 2014 is actually the third community-funded CS: GO event. The first was the 2013 DreamHack SteelSeries Championship and the second was the EMS One Championship at Katowice, which drew more than 240,000 concurrent viewers for the final and ended with 3.5 million hours of video watched in total. To find out more about the upcoming event in Cologne, hit up esl-one.com/csgo.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive weapon skin removed after DMCA takedown notice">CS GO

You may remember CS:GO's M4A4: Howl as one of the most expensive weapon skins available for the game. Today, Valve announced their receipt of a DMCA takedown notice, stating that both the skin and the Howling Dawn community sticker were not the original work of the item's Steam Workshop contributors. "This matter is extremely serious," Valve wrote in a post to the CS:GO community, "and we have taken appropriate action to resolve it."

"By design, the Items Workshop has very low friction for artists to submit their work new contributions do not require Valve review or approval. To ensure that these contributions represent original content, we require that all Workshop contributors sign a legal agreement confirming that their contributions are original. We also enable the community to monitor Workshop submissions and identify copies and plagiarism via the report flag."

Valve aren't messing around with their response, which contains some heavy punishments for the IP infringing item-makers:

"Both contributors have received Steam Community bans. They receive no proceeds from either item, and both items have been removed from the game.

"For owners of the M4A4 | Howl and Howling Dawn sticker, those items have been replaced by an alternative designed by the CS:GO team. These items will never be produced again, and have been assigned the Contraband rarity.

"All other in-game items that involve at least one of the contributors in their revenue share have been discontinued.

"The Huntsman Case and Community Sticker Capsule have been revised to replace the copied and discontinued items.

"Moving forward, we will no longer work with the contributors and we will not ship any existing Workshop submission that credits their involvement."

It's a stark message for those tempted to claim ownership for another's work. The new Contraband rarity and Valve-designed paint-job has, of course, meant a spike in the skin's desirability. Since the item was updated, StatTrak Minimal Wear versions have been sold for around $400.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to What I learned about CS:GO after watching the Twitch stream of someone I beat">cs-go-flash

I played a vitamin D deficiency-fostering amount of CS:GO over the long weekend. In one of my dozen-some competitive matches (CS:GO s excellent five-on-five matchmaking mode), I noticed that one of my opponents was livestreaming. After we won, we booted up the archived video together, commenting in Mumble as we watched. It was a rare chance for my CS:GO group and I to see ourselves through an opponent s eyes (and comms) what did it look like to play against us? These were my takeaways.

Here's the replay file of the match, if you're into that: steam://rungame/730/76561202255233023/+csgo_download_match%20CSGO-X8bCn-P5Cmw-MBvNv-naDSf-YYmQD

My mental picture of my opponents is completely wrong

I ve won 107 competitive matches. My rank swings between Master Guardian II and Master Guardian Elite, which places me at the outer edge of average. At that level, 13th rank out of a possible 18, I expect a basic set of skills from opponents:

Comprehensive map knowledge

Smart money management

Good marksmanship, anticipation, audio awareness

For the most part, our opponents had all of this. They won both pistol rounds against us (and the two eco rounds that followed). Their accuracy was good. Their rotations were a little slow on defense, but big deal.

I tend to assume, perhaps as a defense mechanism, perhaps out of insecure cowardice, that everyone I play a competitive game against is better than me. But watching the game from their perspective revealed a bunch of bad decisions and impulsive decision-making, stuff that s invisible to me when I m not looking through the eyes of my enemy. At 7:15 the livestreaming player walks through smoke with a grenade pulled and dies; at 7:30 his teammate walks through the same smoke and dies. At 8:30 they again walk through smoke together to bombsite B. In round 13, down 8-4 (absolutely not an insurmountable deficit for the Terrorist side they actually tie it 9-9 after switching to CT), and with $7700 in the bank, he buys an armor, a Desert Eagle, and a decoy grenade. Round 14, their plan is to rush through smoke on B, which they bicker over a bit before clumsily committing to. Second round, second half, he buys a Scout after winning the pistol round.

But beyond those avoidable mistakes... how can I put it? Over my hundreds of hours in competitive mode, some portion of which has involved being taunted and called a long list of creative insults, I d painted this image of my hypothetical opponent being a hardcore, misanthropic, snarking, probably-racist with a chip their shoulder.

In reality, I was playing against someone barely out of their adolescence, 32-ounce Jamba Juice cup perpetually in-hand, who listens to EDM mid-match, and whose mom at one point barges in on him. Late in the match, presumably bored or having given up, he goes AFK multiple times to text on his phone. I haven t showered in two days, he confesses at 5:09.

Hackers are everywhere, but maybe it doesn t matter

Even after our recent investigation, it s tough to say just how prevalent hacking is in CS:GO based on my own anecdotal evidence, but there s certainly enough distrust swirling around competitive play to make it unpleasant. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but the reality is that the inability to spectate your opponents mid-match leaves a lot of room for suspicion, especially because most hacks can be toggled on or off at will. So you look for signals, like a Steam profile with a miniscule amount of hours-played, no weapon skins, or that only owns CS:GO all evidence that signifies a smurf account but even in cases where someone s openly hacking there isn t anything you can do in the context of your match apart from outplaying them.

What was illuminating about this match, though, was how quickly the other team was convinced that one of us were hacking as one of them are openly talking about activating their own hacks. At 16:30, Vagabond makes a disgusting AWP shot on bombsite B after another clutch pick on construction. Instantly, the livestreamer reports him. Later:


Vagabond s walling.

He s retarded for walling on his main account.


Vagabond and Tetharis, you guys are fucking hacking c****.

Sprinkled throughout, you can hear them talking openly about hacking:


Wait, so you re walling?

Yeah, how do you think we won that?


Down 9-13, one of them says I m gonna have to toggle again, I don t know if we re gonna win.

Had these guys just accepted hacking as a necessary evil in CS:GO? It was genuine surprise to learn that one of them were cheating, and it s annoying that there s no way I can report them after the fact, but should I care? We won pretty comfortably, by CS:GO standards. Are way more people hacking than I suspect, and I just don t notice because it doesn t have a significant impact on that match?

Either way, it supports my concern that at least some people are using CS:GO s reporting system out of spite and paranoid suspicion, and not with the restraint they should.

Above: Vagabond makes a bold, patient play on de_nuke.

...We re not terrible?

It s so easy, at least for me, to doubt and understate your skill level in competitive games. Matchmaking is designed to put you up against people about as good or better than you, and that experience, for me at least, tends to hide a lot of the actual learning and progress I make because you're so concerned with playing to the level of your opponent.

My group still makes plenty of mistakes, and I m constantly unhappy about how inconsistent my rifle accuracy is, but at this point in our CS:GO amateur careers I can see that we ve eliminated so many bad habits that we had two months ago. Our positioning is consistent, but we know when to juggle our tactics to avoid being predictable. We don t give up on rounds. We don't crouch-walk around corners. We can read and recognize when a grenade toss signifies a rush-feint. We have an understanding of each other s strengths and comfort zones. I know that drgmatt plays apartments on de_inferno with a P90, while Tetharis and Caesar like to play B with M4s. I love our flash on apartments at 37:27.

I m proudest of our comms, which are so much cleaner and abbreviated than our opponents . Our callouts are quick and to the point, respectful of the need to listen for footsteps and grenade clinks. Hearing opponents vocalize reactions to our plays was really valuable. CS:GO s built-in replay tool ( Watch on the main menu) doesn t archive any voice audio from matches, of course, but considering how quickly rounds come and go in Counter-Strike, it s still a terrific tool for understanding why you won or lost.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to CS:GO crosshair generator is a must-use web tool for all players">csgo-crosshair-generator

A tiny PSA for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players: Skarbo's web-based CS:GO crosshair generator is really handy. The tool lets you build a crosshair dynamically, then spits out the corresponding console commands for you to paste in-game or into an autoexec file. After 416 hours spent in CS:GO I can't believe it took me this long to stumble on this.

Skarbo's web tool has actually been around in various forms for a year-plus, but @lordstreetguru kindly pointed us in its direction after having a look at our CS:GO tweaks guide. CS:GO does, of course, have an in-game settings section for fiddling with your crosshair and other UI elements, but it doesn't give you full control.

Below, a few useful and completely dumb crosshairs I built:

Static cyan dot

cl_crosshairalpha "255";cl_crosshaircolor "4";cl_crosshaircolor_b "0";cl_crosshaircolor_r "0";cl_crosshaircolor_g "255";cl_crosshairdot "1";cl_crosshairgap "0";cl_crosshairsize "0";cl_crosshairstyle "2";cl_crosshairusealpha "1";cl_crosshairthickness "2";cl_fixedcrosshairgap "0";cl_crosshair_outline "0";cl_crosshair_outline_draw "0";

White, semi-transparent large cross, dynamic, foolish

cl_crosshairalpha "118";cl_crosshaircolor "5";cl_crosshaircolor_b "255";cl_crosshaircolor_r "255";cl_crosshaircolor_g "255";cl_crosshairdot "1";cl_crosshairgap "-5";cl_crosshairsize "53";cl_crosshairstyle "2";cl_crosshairusealpha "1";cl_crosshairthickness "3.5";cl_fixedcrosshairgap "-5";cl_crosshair_outline "0";cl_crosshair_outline_draw "0";

Blocky, weird blue dynamic dot thing

cl_crosshairalpha "255";cl_crosshaircolor "3";cl_crosshaircolor_b "0";cl_crosshaircolor_r "0";cl_crosshaircolor_g "255";cl_crosshairdot "1";cl_crosshairgap "0";cl_crosshairsize "2";cl_crosshairstyle "2";cl_crosshairusealpha "1";cl_crosshairthickness "4";cl_fixedcrosshairgap "0";cl_crosshair_outline "0";cl_crosshair_outline_draw "0";

GeT_RiGhT's green static crosshair (a selectable option in Skarbo's tool)

cl_crosshairalpha "255";cl_crosshaircolor "4";cl_crosshaircolor_b "0";cl_crosshaircolor_r "0";cl_crosshaircolor_g "255";cl_crosshairdot "1";cl_crosshairgap "0";cl_crosshairsize "0";cl_crosshairstyle "2";cl_crosshairusealpha "1";cl_crosshairthickness "2";cl_fixedcrosshairgap "0";cl_crosshair_outline "0";cl_crosshair_outline_draw "0";
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to See CS:GO with everything cranked up: 4320×2560 on LPC">cs-go-flash

Source is certainly showing some wrinkles in comparison to, say, UE4, but CS:GO remains the premier competitive shooter on PC today. Even after a decade half of history with the franchise, we still love the look and feel of its classic maps and their modern iterations: Mirage's A bombsite, Inferno's "banana" path, or Dust 2's dim tunnel.

Firing up CS:GO on LPC, I decided not to go with a triple-wide monitor setup, so I arranged our three 27" monitors in portrait configuration. This gave us a combined resolution of 4320x2560 or 25 percent/3 million more pixels than we'd get at 4K.

.@wesleyfenlon has fired up Next Car Game on our ludicrous 3x27" portrait setup. https://t.co/JYOJGYvSdr— Evan Lahti (@ELahti) May 9, 2014

Click each preview image to view the uncropped, uncompressed PNG.


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