PC Gamer

LMAOBOX is a program designed to allow players to cheat at Team Fortress 2, for instance by adding automatic aiming or removing weapon recoil. Somehow until now at least it's managed to pass under the radar of Valve's VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) technology, but LMAOBOX has finally been detected, despite claims on the website that it was VAC-proof. And with the detection, comes a wave of VAC bans. It's not clear exactly how many people have been affected, but it includes nearly 170 professional players in the TF2 UGC league. Here's a full list of the competitive players affected, in a Google doc seemingly sent to the players themselves.

PCGamesN has a good write-up of proceedings, but a few more details have come to light since publication. While the developer of LMAOBOX apparently stated that they would now quit the project and make the source code public, a moderator of this Reddit thread reckons that post was made by someone else, and that the (fake) code provided was riddled with malware. Others have disputed claims that the bans are backdated to anyone who has used LMAOBOX in the previous two years, suggesting it has only hit players who have used it in the last two weeks instead.

Either way, this is surely good news for anyone who plays TF2 in the traditional, non-cheaty manner. (Ta, mxdwm.com)

PC Gamer

There was much excitement at the confirmation that the long-rumoured competitive mode for Team Fortress 2 was in production and would be entering beta Soon. Valve didn't give away much beyond asking anyone who'd like to take part to join a competitive TF2 Steam group. But now, well, the devs still aren't giving us anything so concrete as a date, but there are some new details as to how all this will play out.

"Our plan is to start small and increase participation as we go," the announcement reads. "For this initial phase of testing—which will begin in the next week or so—we'll be gradually granting random members from this group an in-game item called a Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass. Once you've been granted a pass you will have ongoing access to the beta."

'Ongoing' is pleasing to hear, although 'random' will excite people less, but such is the nature of beta testing the primary purpose of which isn't marketing. To bring the haves and have-nots a little closer together, the beta period will be interspersed will stress tests, in which large numbers of people will be invited to participate for a limited time.

If you want to further your chances of being selected, Valve would like you to help out its ongoing crackdown on account fraud, namely by:

  • Having purchased a copy of Team Fortress 2 prior to June 23, 2011, or having made a purchase from the Mann Co. Store. (okay, this one is more about swearing fealty)
  • Enabling Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator
  • Associating a phone number with your Steam account

Good luck!

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.

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

The Overwatch beta has been gone for a little while, but there are plenty of ways to prepare for the game s return—or simply to pass the time while you wait for your invite. You can of course read up on heroes and abilities, watch videos or listen to podcasts, but if you re like me you d prefer to jump in right away. Overwatch is not a typical shooter, so get ready to practice your technique in a few different games.

Team Fortress 2

After having played Overwatch for a couple weeks, I can happily say that these are two very different games—but Team Fortress 2 is a close enough match for us to use as a learning tool. Playstyles are generally similar, and certain TF2 classes share close similarities with particular Overwatch heroes.

Picking up the Sniper with a bow is a decent way of getting used to the way Hanzo has to lead his targets, while using the basic sniper rifle is a good way to hone your Widowmaker skills. The Scout is a decent class for learning how to play as Tracer, but lacks Tracer s ability to quickly retreat from a dangerous situation. Get used to flanking your opponents and escaping when they turn their focus on you.

The similarities between Junkrat and the TF2 Demoman are very clear: They both have grenade-like ammunition which requires a very specific set of skills to use correctly. Torbj rn is Overwatch s answer to the TF2 Engineer. Getting used to carefully locking down an area while aggressively defending your turrets is valuable training.

Valve s Medic uses the same style of healing as Blizzard s Mercy: a healing streamforms between the healer and their target, forcing the two to stick together. The Medic will teach you how to dodge danger while maximising your usefulness.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Overwatch is to Counter-Strike what a Steelseries Rival is to an Apple Magic Mouse. They might technically fall into the same category, but are almost nothing alike when you get your hands on them. The one thing you can get from playing CS in a competitive setting is communication skills. A Counter-Strike match stands or falls with a team s communication so try to focus on that while you use the new R8 Revolver, the gun that gets closest to making you feel like McCree. Aim is important in both games, which is the one skill that s very easy to practice in CS:GO. Download training_aim_csgo2 and try to get a decent score with the M4. Make sure you keep a note of your in-game sensitivity if this is the way you re going to be practising your aim, because you ll want to transfer that over to Overwatch:

Arena shooters

Everyone who played FPS games in the 90s has played at least one game in the arena shooter genre. The Quake and Unreal series are legends and have inspired many games that look at lot like them. Among those games is Warsow, a personal favorite of mine. The game is fast as hell and has a lot of cool movement mechanics that will teach you how to quickly maneuver yourself through a map: a skill that will come in handy when playing heroes like Genji, Tracer and Lucio.

Warsow isn t as popular as Quake so it s harder to find servers with players, but try finding an instagib server with a couple friends and you re guaranteed to have a lot of fun while getting used to the insane pace of the game. Warsow is free and won t take up much space on your PC so there s no reason not to give it a try!

Where are my wizards?

Many people have suggested games like Dota or League of Legends as a way to learn cooldown management, but the cooldowns in Overwatch are so low that there s really no point in trying to learn a much more complicated game just to take such a small part of it over to your professional Overwatch career. I do believe any class/role-based team game is a good tool for learning how to play in a team, but unless Overwatch is your first team game, you should already have a vague idea of how that works.

Overwatch relies on aim, teamplay and twitchy reflexes so any game that helps you improve those traits is a good way to spend your time while we wait for the beta to return—and hey, if you don t care about improving at Overwatch, there s always time for Agario.

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

Team Fortress 2's Tough Break Update has landed, bringing with it 26 new contracts, a weapon-loaning program, and the ability to have your character perform dance aerobics via a newly added taunt (see above).

Completing the new contracts will grant you access to three new weapon collections you can't receive otherwise, as well as a chance of winning a unique or strange weapon plus a weekly cosmetic item box drop (which we assume includes some new hats). Speaking of weapons, the new loaner program allows you to participate in contracts even if you don't have the required weapon for it. From the update page:

"Don't have the ordinance you need to finish a weapon-specific contract? Don't worry! (Seriously, calm down.) Now you can borrow it for the duration of the contract, thanks to Mann Co's new community outreach program for wayward guns, the Loaner Program! Give double-donking a try! Lob a fresh jar of body-temperature Jarate at your enemies! Go w+m1 with the Backburner! It's like a library, but for murder accessories!"

Keep in mind, you need to buy into the Tough Break Campaign ($5.99) to participate. Opening those cosmetic and weapon cases will require a special key, of course, which sell for $2.50. The enjoyable Mannrobics taunt can be purchased for a slightly-less enjoyable $10. I just tested the loaner program, and it doesn't cost a rental fee or anything, it simply gives you the weapon you need (it's untradable and can't be used for crafting) and returns it when you're done with the contract.

In addition, the update features four new community maps (a portion of the entry fee goes to the maps' makers), one for Payload, Control Point, King of the Hill, and CTF modes. There are a couple other new taunts as well, including one where the Engineer summons a sentry-like mechanical bull and rides it while laughing (also $10), and one that allows the Demoman to play the bagpipes about as well as you'd expect him to ($5).

Naturally, there are a host of general gameplay changes that tweak weapon damage, weapon switch speeds, and a host of other bits and bobs you can read about fully here.

PC Gamer

You'll soon be able to dress the Team Fortress 2 guys up as batmen and robins, thanks to a load of new gear designed by the community. The winners of the Warner Bros-sponsored Arkham Knight contest have been announced, in which 3D modellers were asked to make Batman-themed accessories for a chance to win a pile of Warner Bros. games. It's not clear when the items will be made available in the game, but you can see them on the Steam Workshop here.

The three winners have been shown off on the Team Fortress blog, along with some cool honourable mentions. Here are a few of my favourite entries:

PC Gamer

In the latest of TF2's seemingly eternal supply of updates, the mercs are faced with their most outlandish threat yet. 

The update brings four new community created maps, some of them 'Invaded' versions of existing maps and others entirely new. The Watergate map introduces a new 'player destruction' mode, in which both teams have to collect beer from dead players and deliver it to a UFO in the middle of the map.

It's set up in much the same way as the Gun Mettle Update, with an 'Invasion Community Update Pass' available from the store which gives you a coin that tracks kills on invaded maps for the month that the event lasts. You don't need to buy it to access the maps, and all the money raised goes to the update's community creators.

Buying the pass also makes you eligible for random drops of 'Space Cases' that can contain anyone of a bunch of the new cosmetics that have also been added. When Valve have done similar things with CS:GO, I've often been able to make back the money by selling my first couple of crate drops—so long as it's in the first day or two before the price of them comes crashing down on the community market.

I still dip in to TF2 every now and then, and updates like this one are a great excuse for you to do the same. 

PC Gamer

Halloween has come to mean two things: rotting childrens' teeth with autumnal-coloured sweets, and Team Fortress 2. Every year for the past six years, Valve has pulled out all or most of the steps to throw a spooky shindig for its now free-to-play multiplayer shooter.

Er, except this year. Valve explains here that it's rather busy working on the next major update, so in lieu of a proper Halloween event it's bringing back all of the previous ones at once. Not only that, but there will be a showcase of the best community content.

After revealing that the forthcoming update will feature "new maps, cosmetics, and a new campaign with contracts and weapon collections", Valve went on to explain the nature of this year's seasonally spooky box social.

"Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that there s something missing from that list: Halloween. The reality is, if we produce a holiday-specific event map this year, it means we'll have to stop working on everything else. So: We ve decided to turn Halloween mostly over to you. This year s Halloween Update will be a showcase of all the best Halloween-themed community content (items, maps, taunts and unusuals) you guys can come up with. We ll also be activating every one of our past six Halloween Updates, so there'll still be plenty of spooky holiday-themed game modes to play.

"Over the next month we ll be looking through the Workshop for anything tagged 'Halloween', so if you ve been working on an item you think would be perfect, make sure you get it submitted and tagged before October 18th, 2015."

You'll be pleased to hear that there are "no restrictions" on this year's Halloween items, meaning they can be viewed all year round. So if you're inclined to make TF2-themed stuff, and to put on Steam Workshop, go nuts.

PC Gamer
Image courtesy of psyke

According to determined intenet sleuths, Team Fortress 2 is being invaded by UFOs. Datamining the Team Fortress 2 update that rolled out earlier today, a user on the Facepunch forums discovered a bunch of new assets listed in the code. Words like 'invasion' and 'saucer' feature prominently, as does references to posters that feature these.

Then there are other TF2 players who have actually spotted UFOs by, you know, playing the game. Another user on the Facepunch forums spotted one of the aforementioned posters in the 2fort map, and YouTube user waterandroid even made a video of a flying saucer appearing in the skies above Dustbowl, as below:

Someone on Reddit has collated all of the evidence so far, and it's pretty compelling. I'd go so far as to say it's conclusive. The UFO Invasion update has been rumoured for a while after all, with this very unsubtle video leaking back in July. Oh, and Halloween is coming next month, so I wouldn't be surprised if all these sightings culminate in something around then.


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