Team Fortress 2 - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added NHBL Heavyweight Champion Season 7 tournament medal
  • Added TF2Maps 72hr Summer Jam 2018 community medal
  • Added Chapelaria Ultiduo Gladiator Season 2 tournament medals
  • Added Newbie Highlander Season 2 tournament medals
  • Added Newbie Prolander Season 3 tournament medals
  • Added Rally Call 2018 community medals
  • Fixed tooltips for Fabricator items being truncated on OS X and Linux clients
Team Fortress 2
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Added NHBL Heavyweight Champion Season 7 tournament medal
  • Added TF2Maps 72hr Summer Jam 2018 community medal
  • Added Chapelaria Ultiduo Gladiator Season 2 tournament medals
  • Added Newbie Highlander Season 2 tournament medals
  • Added Newbie Prolander Season 3 tournament medals
  • Added Rally Call 2018 community medals
  • Fixed tooltips for Fabricator items being truncated on OS X and Linux clients
Team Fortress 2

Today's question is inspired by some of the social media conversations doing the rounds lately about professions, which started with this tweet. We thought we'd change the subject to gaming. No matter what games you love, you'll always read or hear opinions on them that you disagree with. Maybe it feels like people aren't getting the thing that's good about the game in question, or perhaps they don't see why something is important to PC gaming when you do. 

Well, let's complain about those people. Today's PCG Q&A: What does no one seem to understand about a game you love? Leave your answers in the comments.

James Davenport: The intricacies of Dark Souls' lore don't matter

Just let that imagery wash over you. Read item descriptions, sure, but to play Dark Souls—any of them—you don't need to know a goddamn thing about the story. There's a history there if you want to dig deep, but I play games like I read books the first time through: I just go. Getting hung up on every paragraph in a Pynchon novel (I'm that guy, sorry) means you'll never finish the thing. Same goes for Dark Souls. You'll start to notice patterns and catch onto its bleak themes naturally. Too often I hear about people turned off not just by the difficulty of Dark Souls, but by the fantasy setting—decrypting obtuse histories with long-winded family trees ain't easy either—and how little it outright tells you about anything. 

At risk of sounding like an English major (I'm an English major), Dark Souls is a poem. It doesn't need to be understood. It needs to be felt. And it feels metal as hell. So bleak. Here's my take: humans are the worst. We're always hungry, easily bored, envious, anxious, destructive beings. Committing every scrap of Dark Souls lore to memory will tell you the same thing over and over with different players, and that's the point. So, memorize those names if you want to, or just take a nice, depressing, self-critical bath in Dark Souls assurance that we're screwed and it's our fault.

Evan Lahti: Team Fortress 2 is the most influential PC game of the past decade

Many of the most significant trends in PC gaming were guinea pigged and test tubed in Team Fortress 2. The modern, living multiplayer games began with the "Sniper vs. Spy" update in May 2009. TF2 can be credited for the style of multiplayer storytelling seen in games like Overwatch—the way characters chatter with each other dynamically mid-match, and the way games' stories are told outside them, bleeding into marketing, teasers, comics, and other media in a way that we almost expect at this stage. Stuff we take for granted like characters being reinvented for the benefit of shaking up the meta—the way we react to a shotgun rebalance or guided rocket in Fortnite—started in TF2. The ubiquity of loot boxes and cosmetics, which TF2 popularized. And though it's almost hard to remember at this point, the destigmatization of free-to-play as a model for PC games in the West—in 2011, many PC gamers associated free with an absence of quality. 

Tom Senior: You don't have to be interested in WW2 to enjoy Company of Heroes

Games based on historical conflicts sometimes target a specific group of players who are really into that particular era, but you don't need to have an appreciation for authentic Sherman patterning to enjoy a quality RTS like Company of Heroes. I appreciate the dedication of the art teams that want to accurately present companies that really fought in the war, but to newcomers historical accuracy can imply that you need a dense understanding of the setting to get the relationships between different units.

In some serious strategy sims, you do, but Company of Heroes applies abstracts units' strengths and weaknesses into a familiar rock-paper-scissors pattern that anyone can learn. Unit and vehicle speed have been balanced out so you can perform combined arms attacks in a small space without jeeps hurtling off into the sunset. Artillery has been adjusted so it doesn't completely destroy half the map. It's an intense game, but perhaps not in the way you might assume. If you're used to fantasy and sci-fi RTS games, why not grab it in a Steam sale and see.

Andy Kelly: The open world in Mafia II isn't important

A lot of people get hung up on the fact that Mafia II's open world is pretty bare bones. I remember reviews at the time criticising the fact that there was 'nothing to do', meaning a lack of GTA-style side missions and distractions. But to count that against the game is missing the point spectacularly. Mafia II is a linear, heavily narrative-focused action game, telling a superb story across several time periods. And the city, as pretty and inviting as it is, is really just an elaborate backdrop to the action.

When you realise this, and retune your GTA-wired brain, you'll realise how good Mafia II really is. It's not trying to present a world full of stuff to do, but using its city to tell what is, to me, one of the best stories on PC. There are a few collectables, such as those infamous Playboy magazines, but I wonder if the developer felt like it had to include something to encourage exploration. But it really didn't need to, because Empire Bay is an incredible virtual city, regardless of how 'empty' it is.

Andy Chalk: Thief's "monster missions" are the best and anyone who says otherwise is wrong

Thief's "monster missions"—Bonehoard, Lost City, Return to Cathedral, and the like—are not just the best parts of the game, they're the most important. Thief is a fantastic narrative B&E sim, no doubt, but what makes it magic is, literally, the magic, and the monster missions are the spark that gives it life: Whether you're breaking into Bafford's or rummaging through Rampone's, in the back of your mind is the knowledge that somewhere out there is a world far greater and more wonderful (and terrifying) than the cold, stoic pragmatism that gets Garrett through the day. Garrett's sole "supernatural" ability reflects that dissonance—wounded by magic and healed by mechanics, he's simultaneously better and worse for his encounters with both. That division is central to the genius of Thief, and it's impossible without magic and the monsters it spawns: Politics are dirty and Garrett's gotta pay the rent, but the real world—the world that gives Thief its unique and brilliant life—lies beneath.

Samuel Roberts: Blitzball in Final Fantasy X is a pretty good minigame, but you have to learn it

I've never met anyone who likes Blitzball in Final Fantasy X except me. It's basically underwater football—or more accurately, polo, I'm told, but I don't know what that is—since everyone in the game's tropical universe can hold their breath forever. It's built entirely on roleplaying-style stats, with numbers representing shooting power, blocking, passing and so on. You can also recruit players who are just wandering around the game's world, making it feel like a real part of its fiction and not just a distraction.

Problem is, it's really hard when you start. You only have to play one game as part of the story, and it's ludicrously difficult. It's only later, playing against some lesser teams and understanding what the different numbers mean, that you start to get it. After ten or so matches and with a stronger roster, it becomes clear that it's a deep, interesting and challenging minigame that's worth playing. 

Joe Donnelly: Football Manager is great fun, even if you don't like football

I'm going to sort of copy Tom here. On the face of it, Football Manager targets a specific group of players: those who're into football. If you hate football, Football Manager probably isn't for you. That's obvious. But if you like football, or if you can simply stand it—enough to select a team, set a training schedule, and handle innocuous questions from the press on a semi-regular basis—then I think you'll like Football Manager. If you can follow the above and are also interested in strategy sims, I'm convinced you'll fall for it.     

Because at its heart, Football Manager is a strategy game about balancing numbers, managing statistics, gambling on variables, and leading one team to victory over several others. There's fewer guns and tanks and less colonising than the average wargame, granted, but signing up and coming superstars and lifting trophies provides similar thrills. If I were English, I'd sign off with something cheesy here, like: give Football Manager a try and bring football home. But I'm Scottish, which means I play Football Manager to ensure my pathetic national team stands a chance of actually qualifying for a major international tournament. France '98 is but a distant memory. 

Team Fortress 2

Fortnite is currently the game most associated with meme culture, but back in the day, Team Fortress 2 was responsible for some incredible viral creations of its own. One of these memes, a crustacean sensation known as the Spycrab, became a huge part of the Team Fortress 2 community and was immortalised after achieving official recognition from Valve.

The Spycrab meme first appeared 10 years ago today in July 2008, when players began to notice a mysterious glitch in the Spy model's animation. If a player crouched with the disguise kit, looked up into the sky and walked forwards, their Spy's arms would twist into a pincer formation, while their legs would buckle and appear to walk sideways. Horrifying, yet hilarious.

The first recorded sighting of a Spycrab showed a number of bemused onlookers crowding around a player adopting the Spycrab position. Inspired by the player's name, fans soon began to create posters asking other players to 'save the endangered Spycrab'. As a Spycrab cannot harm people (the player in question is looking upwards), the TF2 community agreed not to kill them in game, and this became a religiously-enforced informal rule. If enough Spycrabs gathered, members from both BLU and RED teams would come together in a peaceful 'Spycrab migration' and walk around together.

Read more…

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

TF2_Readysteadypan_header1

There’s a ‘this is the pinnacle of esports’ joke right there on the table, but I’m gonna say straight up that Ready Steady Pan is an absolute mess to spectate. But what a spectacularly daft mess it is.

This is 6v6 Team Fortress 2, where everyone is only allowed to attack with frying pans and food. And urine, for some reason. The community-run “semi-competitive tournament” is nearly done accepting sign-ups for its fourth annual competition, which kicks off at the start of next week. (more…)

Team Fortress 2


RGL.gg is bringing Prolander to Australia! Thanks to STN.tf and CPU Servers, we are hosting our very first Australian One Day Cup. This will be a FREE tournament open to players of all skill levels, and best of all, half of the teams that enter will win keys! During the cup, you will be playing against teams of similar skill, so you don't have to worry about playing against the top players. Additionally, if you don't have a team, you can queue as an individual player and be placed into a team by us!


The cup is on July 21st, starting at 4pm AEST. Every team will play at least three matches, on payload and king of the hill maps, with the cup will lasting about six hours. New team registration ends on July 18th. Players who are looking for a team can post in the LFT section of the RGL cup website. More information and registration is at the Cup.AU.RGL.gg website.


Team Fortress 2
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Added tournament/community medals for HLMixes, Hydro.tf, Ready Steady Pan Season 4, and Blapature
  • Tweaked Competitive Mode MMR calculations
    • MMR mobility increased somewhat across the board
    • Players who have high game counts relative to the rest of the player base should see fewer adjustments of 1 or 0 MMR
  • Updated pl_enclosure_final to fix a displacement hole in stage two
  • Updated Test Run items such that the discount is not valid if the item is already on sale in the Mann Co. Store
  • Updated the models for The Frontier Djustice, The Rotation Sensation, and the Elf Esteem to fix display problems with unusual effects
  • Fixed some currencies not properly calculating the Test Run discount, which prevented being able to purchase the item
  • Updated the localization files
Team Fortress 2 - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added tournament/community medals for HLMixes, Hydro.tf, Ready Steady Pan Season 4, and Blapature
  • Tweaked Competitive Mode MMR calculations
    • MMR mobility increased somewhat across the board
    • Players who have high game counts relative to the rest of the player base should see fewer adjustments of 1 or 0 MMR
  • Updated pl_enclosure_final to fix a displacement hole in stage two
  • Updated Test Run items such that the discount is not valid if the item is already on sale in the Mann Co. Store
  • Updated the models for The Frontier Djustice, The Rotation Sensation, and the Elf Esteem to fix display problems with unusual effects
  • Fixed some currencies not properly calculating the Test Run discount, which prevented being able to purchase the item
  • Updated the localization files
Team Fortress 2
(Image credit - HeroArt110)

Signups for Ready Steady Pan Season 4 are finally open! We're very excited for all the frying pan action throughout the season, but one thing you may be asking yourself is "where do I signup?". The website is open for team and user registration over at Pan.tf, where you can also look for teams and players on the forums. Signups end on July 2nd, so be sure to get your teams ready for the ultimate pandemonium that is Ready Steady Pan!


NOTE: Preseason matches start during the week of July 25th.


For those who are new: Ready Steady Pan is a semi-competitive league involving the frying pan as the only damage dealing weapon allowed, as well as food and jumper weapons. If you want to connect with others participating in the season or want to get in contact with the many helpers that are volunteering, you can check out our Discord server on our website.


Team Fortress 2

By way of speedrunning, roleplaying servers and performance subcultures, I love communities that tailor games to suit their own esoteric interests. To this end, Team Fortress 2's annual trick jumping competition The Beginnings is underway.

As reported by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, The Beginnings 5 hosts contests in trick jumping, speedrunning and a live race. "Do you have what it takes?" asks this Reddit post. "Beginnings 5 is an organized event for competition within TF2 jumping. This year we will be holding three separate competitions, a speedrun competition, a trick jumping competition, and a live race. 

"There are in-game medals to be won. To be eligible for a participant medal you must send in a run that's faster than the showcase time of the map you submit a run on, send in a trickjump that isn't obviously bad, or participate in the live race."

The Reddit post points those interested this way, and notes that the race will be held on  June 23 and will be streamed on Twitch here. 16 racers for each class will take part, this post explains, with racers going head-to-head till two jumpers meet in the grand final. To enter, players are required to submit eight demos—four in POV, and four in SourceTV. 

The following map showcase is impressive all told, but I was particularly taken by the moves from five minutes onward.

More information on The Beginnings 5 lives here. Here's Evan's words on how Team Fortress 2 changed FPSes forever.

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