PC Gamer

The openness of PC gaming allows anyone to contribute, from modders, Twitch streamers, and two-man dev teams to the biggest game studios in the world. But with no real regulator at the helm to set and enforce standards, it also means that everyone has shared ownership of the platform, opening the door to abuse, troublemakers, and scandal.

Pour a glass of dramamine and revisit the finest flubs that graced PC gaming this year. From least-most controversial to most-most controversial, these are the stories that drew the greatest negative reaction from the PC gaming community in 2016.

Scorched Earth added a ton of new stuff: new creatures like the deathworm and the mantis, new features, over 50 new items, and the centerpiece, six desert biomes.

ARK: Scorched Earth

The pressure on Steam's Early Access program has only increased since its introduction in March 2013. Although Early Access has yielded excellent games like Darkest Dungeon, Don't Starve, Offworld Trading Company, Subnautica, Divinity: Original Sin, Infinifactory, RimWorld, and Kerbal Space Program, some PC gamers remain reluctant to buy into unfinished games and the uncertainty that the Early Access label sometimes carries.

In September, Studio Wildcard dealt a blow to Early Access' reputation when it released Scorched Earth, the first paid expansion for Ark: Survival Evolved. At $20, it was two-thirds the cost of the base game. Many fans were unhappy to see a game that was by definition unfinished getting post-release content. On the third most-popular post on the Ark subreddit ever, one fan criticized: "We paid for the developers to finish Ark: Survival Evolved, instead they took our money and made another game with it." Studio Wildcard defended its decision saying that implementing an expansion early would make the technical process easier for future expansions.

More reading: Ark: Survival Evolved dev responds to paid expansion controversyValve must take greater ownership over Steam's Early Access program

Nostalrius could accommodate as many as 11,000 concurrent players.


Vanilla WoW (that is, a pre-expansion version of World of Warcraft) has remained a popular way to play the most popular MMO of all time. As Angus wrote in April, "Nostalrius is a time capsule: a beautifully nostalgic record of what a living world used to look like. It's a museum piece created by passionate fans with no official alternative." 

But it's against WoW's terms of service to operate an independent game server, even if that server takes no money from its community. In April Blizzard issued a cease-and-desist against Nostalrius, WoW's biggest vanilla server, which boasted 150,000 active players. The forecast was grim: Blizzard had shut down other vanilla servers before, and it felt unlikely that the internet petition that sprung up in response was going to reverse the action against Nostalrius.

The server owners complied, shutting down Nostalrius in April, but the fight wasn't done. Shortly after, they managed a face-to-face meeting with Blizzard to press their case for the value of vanilla WoW. "After this meeting, we can affirm that these guys WANT to have legacy WoW servers, that is for sure," wrote a Nostalrius admin.

The story continued to develop as members of the Nostalrius team, seemingly uncontent with Blizzard's lack of discussion about the issue at BlizzCon, announced their plans to bring back the server under a new banner, Elysium. Barring some change of heart by Blizzard, Elysium itself stands a decent chance of also getting shut down. But the resurrection of Nostalrius puts greater pressure on Blizzard to permit vanilla servers, lest it be embroiled in another battle with a big piece of the WoW community.

More reading: Inside the WoW server Blizzard wants to shut down

The revised victory pose.

Blizzard's buttroversy

Debate about the portrayal of videogame butts came to a head in 2016 when, in a lengthy post on the Battle.net forums, player Fipps complained about a victory pose for Tracer, Overwatch's speedy and spunky attacker.

“I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the Recall trailer again," Fipps wrote. "She knows who Tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters. What I'm asking is that as you continue to add to the Overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You've been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you've already done.”

Blizzard agreed, and promised to amend the pose. “We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented,” game director Jeff Kaplan wrote. 

Then came criticism that Kaplan was caving to criticism, or worse 'censoring' Overwatch in response to a complaint. "We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay," he wrote in a second update. "That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it."

Lost in the pile of this was how civil the original critique was. "My main complaint is that there is no facet of Tracer's silly/spunky/kind personality in the pose. It's just a generic butt shot. I don't see how that's positive for the game," wrote Fipps in the original post. I continue to agree that the pose wasn't Blizzard's best. Really, the reaction to the reaction was bigger, as it fed into a wider conversation around sexualized characters, feminism, inclusiveness, player criticism and other issues in games.

More reading: Overwatch victory pose cut after fan complains that it's over-sexualized

We loved Forza Horizon 3, but not the UWP strings it's attached to.

Microsoft's UWP

Microsoft's latest courtship of PC gaming continues to be a mixture of good and bad. We loved Forza Horizon 3, liked Gears 4, and found Halo 5: Forge to be surprisingly great. But on the operating system side, things weren't all blue skies and green fields for PC gamers in 2016. 

In March, Microsoft asserted its plan to bring its biggest games to Windows through its Universal Windows Platform, a set of standards and restrictions meant to, in Microsoft's eyes, make it easier to publish applications across multiple Windows devices, improve security, and help developers write code under a more unified platform. Those modest benefits are outweighed massively by the danger of Windows becoming more of a closed platform.

Among game companies, Epic Games CEO and co-founder Tim Sweeney was the most outspoken critic of UWP. In March, Sweeney labeled the initiative "a closed, Microsoft-controlled distribution and commerce monopoly," and called for others in the industry to oppose it. Sweeney didn't miss the opportunity to level more harsh words later in 2016. "Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken," he warned in July.

More reading:Epic CEO Tim Sweeney pummels Microsoft's UWP initiativePhil Spencer on Microsoft's PC plans: "I wouldn’t say our strategy is to unify"

CS:GO's in-game items sparked multiple scandals.

CS:GO skin gambling

The stage for 2016's skin gambling debacle was set three years earlier, when Valve rolled out cosmetic microtransactions for CS:GO. These items could be traded, sold, and bought through Steam for as much as $400—the maximum listing price on the Steam Community Market. It didn't take long for questionable, unlicensed third-party websites to realize they could use Steam bot accounts to automate item winnings and losings, and it didn't take long for dozens of flavors of skin gambling to spring up as CS:GO peaked in popularity.

The lowest point so far in a story that continues to develop, though, was the revelation that two very popular YouTubers showed themselves winning thousands of dollars of items on a site called CSGO Lotto without mentioning or indicating in any way that they were the creators of CSGO Lotto. Oops. Exposed, TmarTn offered a pitiful apology, saying that his relationship with had been "been a matter of public record since the company was first organized in December of 2015," presumably meaning that a public record existed of his co-ownership of the shady gambling website for someone else to uncover.

There's no definitive verdict on the legality of in-game item gambling at this time, but you can expect the issue to continue to be explored in 2017.

More reading:YouTuber owner of CS:GO betting site offers worst apology ever CS:GO’s controversial skin gambling, explained

A beautiful alien dinosaur that existed only as marketing.

No Man's Sky

It was a perfect, ugly storm of some of the least-appealing trends in modern gaming: unchecked hype, unfinished games, last-minute review code, bland procedural generation, and misleading marketing.

Before that, though, heavy, sincere anticipation had formed around No Man's Sky. Here was a game from a small studio with an impossible promise: 18 quintillion planets, procedurally-generated wildlife, infinite exploration. In trailers, it looked like a massive step forward for the stagnating survival genre. To help Hello Games achieve these lofty designs, it had the backing of a major publisher in Sony. And No Man's Sky was delightfully mysterious, so much so that we were still answering fundamental questions about the game a month before launch, thanks to limited access to code. At a preview event, Chris was allowed to play for less than an hour

Concerning signs came in the days before release. A significant day-one patch was on the way to fix major exploits. The PC release date itself wasn't announced until very late. A player who acquired a leaked copy of the game was able to reach the center of this allegedly near-infinite galaxy very quickly. And in a strange move, Hello Games wrote a blog warning players about the game one day before its launch on PlayStation 4. "This maybe isn’t the game you *imagined* from those trailers," wrote Sean Murray in a blog post that outlined, from his perspective, what the space game was and was not. "I expect it to be super divisive."

It was more than that. But initially, No Man's Sky became the biggest launch on Steam of 2016, hitting 212,620 concurrent players on PC. That's more than double the all-time peak of 2015 phenomenon Rocket League. In short order, the mystery unraveled. Two players, livestreaming simultaneously on launch day, could not see one another despite reaching the same location. The limitations of the game's procedural generation were revealed, as players shared screens and video of samey-looking aliens. And the hope that somewhere, cool, custom snake monsters were prowling the universe, disappeared. Players urged other players to seek refunds, and No Man's Sky's concurrent players sunk. Hello Games went quiet.

Our reviewer, Chris Livingston, recaps the rest of the saga perfectly in our lows of the year:

And then there was the reaction to the reaction: Hello Games went utterly silent for a couple of months. While I understand the reasoning—when everything you've ever said is suddenly under intense scrutiny, it makes sense to be careful saying anything else—the impenetrable silence only made matters worse, as fans felt they had been completely abandoned and ignored. At least things have gotten better recently, with new features added in the Foundation update, and the promise of more changes to come in the future.

There are lessons to be learned on all sides. Devs: keep in mind that no one ever forgets what you say during development, and while it's fine to talk about the elements you hope to put in your game, you're going to hear about it if those things aren't actually there when you release it. Plus, completely shutting off all communication with the people who have bought your game is a terrible idea. As customers, we need to remain skeptical of early E3 trailers, bullshots, pre-launch hype, and be especially cautious about pre-ordering games. And, we need to be patient. Even if developers aren't talking, they're listening, and adding new features to a game takes time.

Ultimately, it was a pleasantly chill, but underwhelming neon planet generator that became the poster child of many of the things we dislike. The lingering thought is how differently things would've gone if No Man's Sky had released in Early Access as a $20 or $30 beta.

More reading: The anatomy of hypeFive reasons game marketing can be misleading

PC Gamer

Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson/ESL

2015 had its fair share of spectacular moments, but this year has seen the combination of individual skill with copious amounts of luck taken to whole new heights. From airborne multikills to superb finales, here are some of this year’s standout moments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Death has wings

If this year left you feeling cold, that could only be a good sign: as Luminosity Gaming’s Marcelo 'coldzera' David demonstrated. In the first half of this year, LG (now SK Gaming) were carving a path through the best teams in the world. Running into Team Liquid in the semifinals of the MLG Columbus Major, they hit a bit of a bump. At 15-9 down, coldzera was the sole line of defence standing between Liquid and Mirage’s B-bombsite. As it turned out, he was all the defence LG needed.

Landing a jumping double-kill noscope is an unlikely prospect at the best of times, but for coldzera to pull it off and another two kills to save match point at a Major? Phenomenal. The blow proved too much for Liquid, who went on to lose the game in overtime. The full final can be found here.

The event has since been immortalized on the map with artwork of a winged AWP. You can find it tucked in by the van on the B-bombsite. Coldzera was such a fan of the piece that he commissioned a tattoo artist to recreate it.

Simple sniping

The AWP sniper rifle is Counter-Strike’s most iconic gun, recognisable instantly by its thunderous boom. If you think yourself an expert, however, let Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev enlighten you with some less conventional uses.

Left in a 1v1 with his opponent holed up in Dust2’s B-bombsite, s1mple throws both caution and his AWP to the wind in an audacious play. By hurling a massive gun over the wall, his opponent is distracted just long enough for s1mple to push in and take the round with a pistol.

S1mple is no stranger to making bold plays and, clearly envious of coldzera’s success, he couldn’t help but pull of his own spectacular noscope kills. Taking an aggressive 1v2 fight, Simple drops from Heaven on Cache’s B-bombsite, sniper in hand. Hitting one player on the way down, he then follows up with an absurd unscoped shot on the remaining terrorist. Map creator FMPONE was quick to mock up some artistic graffiti for the level, a change since added by Valve. Matching coldzera, s1mple had the work tattooed onto his arm.

The best grand final: Luminosity Gaming vs. G2, ESL Pro League Season 3 

The best grand final: Luminosity Gaming vs. G2, ESL Pro League Season 3The ESL Pro League Season 3 Grand Final hosted Brazilians Luminosity against the French G2 in a sublime five match finale. Taking place in May, LG were still riding high off their MLG Colombus Major victory. G2—after barely scraping through qualification— produced an underdog tale for the books, dominating the group stage before besting Fnatic in the semifinals. The final heralded one of the best series in years.

Map five honoured Inferno with a fitting send off before its removal and eventual rework by Valve. Despite the map holding a heavy CT-bias, the two teams traded round after round in a brutal slugfest each half. Both sides so evenly matched, it took a heart-stopping overtime finish to establish a champion. Best of five series are extremely rare these days in CS, and the ESL Pro League proved just how much of a spectacle they can offer. If you’d like to start from the beginning, game one can be found here.

A first for North America: Cloud9 win the ESL Pro League 

Following the brilliant performance of SK Gaming, the standard of competition in North America (NA) has been driven to new heights. Everyone from Team Liquid to CLG has had their moment to shine, but none quite managed to capitalise on a large international win. Fortunately, when America needed a saviour, old favourites Cloud9 stepped up to the mantle. Ousting the defending champions SK gaming 2-1, they became the first NA team to win the ESL Pro League and claim the greater share of the $600,000 prize pool.

A recent acquisition for C9, Timothy "autimatic" Ta gave an exemplary account, rising to the challenge time after time to dismantle SK. Following C9’s success, OpTic Gaming have taken the ELEAGUE Season 2 crown, increasing NA’s foothold on the international circuit. With a foot firmly in the door, the American fanbase can anticipate an exciting year to come.

Fail of the year

For every success in CS there will always be an accompanying failure, and some provide far more entertainment than others. Topping the list this year could be no other than Splyce’s stand-in, Jaryd "summit1g" Lazar. At match point, 15-12, summit is left in a tense 1v1 against CLG’s FugLy. After a short exchange, FugLy falls and Summit needs only defuse the bomb to claim victory.  With the match all but over, the production cut to Splyce’s booth in time to see the team erupt with an outburst of confusion and hilarity. Cut back to the game and we find summit has somehow died, earning CLG the round...

Oh dear. Elated in victory, summit runs over his own molotov, taking a staggering 40 damage to kill himself.  Adding insult to injury, CLG then went on to recover the match, beating Splyce in overtime 19-16. He may be a successful streamer, but summit is also likely to be the only player who managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The full match is available here.

Unusual entertainment

2016 also saw a number of bizarre occurrences play out:

Running on RNG

2016 has also seen interest in CS rise in the Eastern market, with China’s Tyloo asserting themselves on the international stage by knocking world champions Luminosity Gaming out of the Dreamhack Masters Malmo. Making their way into the quarterfinals, Tyloo were met by the might of NaVi. At 12-8 down, Tyloo attacked Inferno’s B-bombsite, producing an incredibly unconventional and unquestionably lucky AK headshot to take secure the plant.

Jumping over the first set of boxes, Hui "DD" Wu annihilates Navi’s AWPer with a single shot. Likely just looking for positional information, DD rolled the dice and came out on top, though NaVi would later take the match. The full game can be found here.

Moments like this are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon, but the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major is just around the corner in 2017. Pitting the top teams against each other for a million dollar prize pool, CS fans will soon witness what the best of the best can be expected to achieve in the coming year. 

PC Gamer

Maybe you've heard of our tiny piece of Counter-Strike history: a map called de_dust_pcg. It was released back in 2005 as a collaboration between Dave Johnston, the creator of the original Dust, and PC Gamer—thus the title, right? As Johnston explains in this blog post, it was originally created as a tutorial for the mag, and so "it never quite got the attention and iteration that Dust and Dust 2 benefited from." But now it's getting a second chance, as 3kliksphilip has ported it from Counter-Strike: Source to CS:GO, and also put up a nice video overview of its history and the changes that were required to make the new version work.

"Retrospectively I’m surprised at some of the choices I made, and the choices the layout exposes to players," Johnston wrote. "The map clearly doesn’t have the same depth of gameplay as Dust 2, sitting closer to the original Dust in terms of size and complexity—perhaps it could be considered Dust 0.8 if these things were numbered in such a way. I’m still unsure if the dropped bomb spot was a good idea, but it was certainly fun to try it." 

As a tutorial in a magazine, the map didn't get the iteration that Dust and Dust 2 did, but it also reflects the different priorities of that era, when the focus was on lowering the barriers to entry rather than "the all-important metagames that help enshrine longevity." Gamers these days are more tolerant of complex map layouts, Johnston said, while modern game engines are better equipped to "recreate and then exploit properties of [the] real world to guide players around the virtual world." Because of that, he concluded, de_dust_pcg "will probably leave most CS:GO players wanting a little... well, more." 

Maybe so, but it's free, which is a big selling point, and an interesting piece of videogame history to boot. It's available via the Steam Workshop, and 3klikphilip's own site lists some servers running it. And if you want to play around with the original de_dust_pcg files in the Hammer editor, you can grab them up here

PC Gamer

The Boston Major wrapped up last weekend with an exciting final that saw OG defeating Ad Finem to take home the $1 million first prize. But the action didn’t stop there as the final major CS:GO tournament of 2016 saw Astralis outgun OpTic at the Esports Championship Series. The world of digital sports will be fairly quiet now until next year, but we do have a few events to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s action can be found below. Have a great weekend!

StarCraft II: Intel Extreme Masters

The top WCS Korea players based on their placement in the 2016 WCS Global Finals will be battling it out at the Intel Extreme Masters. Only those with the best macro game will be crowned the victor and win the prize pool of $35,000. The semifinals start today at 21:55 PST and Saturday 06:55 CET, while the finals begin Saturday at 21:10 PST and Sunday 05:10 CET. The event can be watched live over on Twitch.

League of Legends: Intel Extreme Masters

The Intel Extreme Masters returns to South Korea where it’s holding its first ever Asian stadium event in Gyeonggi. It's been eight years since the IEM tournament last visited South Korea and Season 11 continues with its second event. International League of Legends teams will battle it out for their chance to win the $100,000 prize pool. The semifinals start today at 18:30 PST and Saturday 03:30 CET, while the finals start Saturday at 11:40 PST / 20:40 CET. You can check out the official stream over on lolesports.

CSGO: ELEAGUE Major 2017 offline qualifier

The Major Qualifier will be held from the ELEAGUE Arena in Atlanta today and presented live over on Twitch. It will include the eight teams eliminated in the group stage from the prior major, as well as the top eight teams identified through Regional Minor Championships. The full schedule can be found here, while the event can be watched on Twitch.  

Overwatch: Intel Extreme Masters

Six teams from Europe and Asia will come together to deliver a show full of rivalries. Korean team Afreeca Freecs Blue were finalists in the Intel Overwatch APEX League, but failed to claim success after losing to EnVyUs in a 4-0 sweep. The IEM Gyeonggi Invitational will be their second chance to defend Korea's title as they battle on home soil. Meanwhile, Misfits will have a chance to test out their new lineup after a major roster swap. The quarterfinals start today at 08:55 PST / 17:55 CET, while the semifinals begin at 23:40 PST and Saturday at 08:40 CET. The full schedule can be found here, while the stream can be found over on Twitch.   

PC Gamer

The Dota 2 Boston Major and CS:GO Esports Championship series aim to end the year in style this weekend. Both events are set to deliver high doses of action, suspense and drama as our digital athletes duke it out. All the details on this weekend’s action can be found below. Have a great weekend!

Dota 2: The Boston Major finals

The Boston Major is well underway as the Dota 2 teams continue to fight for their chance to win their share of a $3,000,000 prize pool. Now that the group stages have finished things are heating up as we head over to the quarterfinals. Virtus.pro and Evil Geniuses are kicking things off today at 07:00 PST / 16:00 CET, followed by WG.Unity and OG. The semifinals start the same time on Saturday, while the finals start later at 15:00 PST / 00:00 CET. You can check out the official stream over on Twitch.

CSGO: Esports Championship Series season 2 finals

FACEIT’s flagship Electronic Championship Series will be taking place at the Anaheim Arena for its second offline finals. The top four teams will face off today in front of thousands of North American fans for their chance to win the $750,000 prize pool. This year’s ECS finals promises to be one of the largest CS:GO events in Southern California, holding 18,000 spectators in the venue. The playoffs kick off today at 11:15 PST / 20:15 CET, while the finals start on Sunday at 18:00 PST and Monday 03:00 CET. Tickets to the event can be bought here, while the full schedule and stream can be found over on the ECS website.

Overwatch: Winter Premiere

Blizzard has partnered with Next Generation Esports to produce the Overwatch Winter Premiere. The event is open to North American teams, and all participants must qualify through open qualifiers starting this Saturday. After the qualifiers, the top eight teams will advance for three weeks of rigorous group play. Only the best teams will have a chance to play at the Winter Premiere, which will be held in January at the NGE Studios in Burbank, California. Teams can register here.

Hearthstone: Esport Superstars

Day two of the Hearthstone Esport Superstars event will be live in Neumünster, Germany today. Pros and YouTubers will come together to battle for the €25,000 prize pool on the world’s first mobile esports arena and roadshow truck—Big Betty. The full weekend schedule can be found here and the event can be streamed over on Twitch.

PC Gamer

The holidays are here, as announced by CS:GO's chickens and their garish new sweaters. Please refer to the above image of a chicken wearing a sweater in CS:GO for verification that the chickens are wearing sweaters. They sure are.

Experienced CS:GO players know that the point of CS:GO is to defend chickens with your life, especially after claiming one by targeting it and pressing 'use' to make it follow you around. We must be even more vigilant when our chickens are wearing bright sweaters, as they're easier targets. Please protect the chickens this winter.

Chicken sweaters were a feature in last year's CS:GO winter update, too. Aside from the increased fowl coziness, the latest patch—which went out yesterday—adds a new audio setting, Head-Related Transfer Function, which seeks to "vastly improve 360 degree vertical and horizontal sound positioning." There are also some tweaks to public lobbies, the Nuke map, and a note that "third-person weapon angles now visibly match first-person weapon recoil." 

Players can also buy $1 gifts to give out to random players in their matches, spreading some nice holiday cheer. (I tried to give a present to a chicken but it didn't work and I accidentally shot the chicken. I'm sorry.)

Read the full patch notes here.

PC Gamer

Counter-Strike: Classic Offensive is a remake of Counter-Strike being made inside a remake of Counter-Strike.

Yesterday the modder Z00L released a launch trailer for his curious mod, a project that aims to reproduce the look and feel of the original Counter-Strike (version '1.6' as it's more colloquially known) inside CS:GO. "The main goal of the mod is to get the gameplay from 1.6 right into CS:GO including weapons, sounds, movement, all the old stuff you've dreamed to see in CS:GO," he writes on ModDB. "As you can see, I'm pretty near."

The mod is built within CS:GO's version of Source, and it'll require CS:GO to play. At launch, planned December 25, Z00L says that retro versions of Dust2, Italy, Mirage and Inferno will be playable. Each of these maps exist in the current version of CS:GO, of course, but they've since been aesthetically and structurally reimagined in small or significant ways. 

As stated in August, Z00L's goals with the project are to make weapons that behave similarly to 1.6, remove 'GO'-specific guns, replace all sounds, and remove skins. He also outlines what he is not able to do as a result of the engine:

  • Wallbangs as in 1.6 (even if I change it it won't penetrate more than 32units)
  • Remake the crouching jumping bug (no I won't edit the dlls)
  • Playermodel selection (a plugin could fix that though)
  • See inside smoke particles (the game don't draw the world when inside, so nope..)
  • Bring back the tactical shield
  • Change flashes, smoke time, nade physics
  • Add buying ammo

So although the project is appetizing to folks like me who grew up playing 1.6 in internet cafes, it does seem to be operating under some fundamental constraints that might make it impossible to include certain movement quirks and 'desirable' map bugs what were buffed out over Counter-Strike's different iterations. It's hard to tell from the in-game trailer exactly how well Classic Offensive captures the movement and weapon feel of old CS, but to my eyes it resembles the higher-fi Counter-Strike: Source more than anything. I guess that isn't unsurprising, considering it's the link between 1.6 and GO.

Which version of Counter-Strike was the best, the most pure, or the most tactically interesting remains a hotly debated topic by FPS players. For the year following its release in 2012, CS:GO wasn’t even the most popular version of Counter-Strike—some players were still actively arguing the merits of GO against its thirteen- and nine-year-old predecessors.

PC Gamer

The Dota 2 Boston Major is set to dominate the headlines this weekend, while the Overwatch APEX season 1 comes to an exciting end. There’s plenty to watch besides, from CS:GO’S ELEAGUE finals to the grand finals of Rocket League’s RLCS. All the details on this weekend’s action can be found below. Have a great weekend!

Street Fighter V: The Capcom Cup

It's been a long year, but this weekend the best Street Fighter V players in the world descend on Santa Ana to crown a champion. Catch up on the players here, and check out the official site for loads more information play is ongoing, starting at 10:00 PST / 19:00 CET every day. Here's the livestream.

Dota 2: The Boston Major

The Boston Major is finally debuting this weekend at the Wang Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Sixteen teams will battle through a single-elimination playoff bracket in best-of-three matches, with a best-of-five Grand Finals to determine the winner of the $3,000,000 prize pool. The seeding for the Main Event bracket will be determined by the results of Group Stage which starts tomorrow. You can check out the official stream over on Twitch.

CS:GO: ELEAGUE Season 2 Semifinals and Finals

The CS:Go ELEAGUE season 2 semifinals kick off today with SK Gaming and Astralis fighting it to try secure their place in the finals. The match starts at 14:00 PST / 23:00 CET, while the finals start the following day at 13:00 PST / 22:00 CET. Turner’s ELEAGUE project has been a resounding success, broadcasting Counter-Strike on a weekly basis to television sets worldwide. But for those of you who don’t have TBS can check out all the latest action over on Twitch.

Overwatch APEX Season 1 Final

Overwatch APEX Season 1 is set to come to a climatic end in South Korea this Saturday, with the winner set to take home $90,000. It’s down to Team EnVyUs and AF.Blue, who will contest the final matches. The semifinals saw AF Blue gunning their way to a 3-1 victory over BK Stars, and EnVyUs stole the win over Kongdoo Uncia 3-2 with the help of stand-in Pongphop ‘Mickie’ Rattanasangohod. The finals starts at 00:00 PST / 09:00 CET and can be watched here.

Rocket League: RLCS Grand Finals

More than ten thousand teams signed up for the second season of the Rocket League Championship Series, and it has all come down to the final eight. Four teams from each region will be competing for the grand prize of $50,000. Players will be revving their engines this Saturday at 04:00 PST / 13:00 CET, while the matches continue Sunday at 05:00 / 14:00 CET. The stream can be watched in its entirety here.

Heroes of the Storm: Gold Club World Championship

The Heroes of the Storm Gold Club World Championship is now well underway in Beijing, with $300,000 to be won. The final stages of the tournament will be played at the Water Cube—also known as the National Aquatics Center, which was originally built for the 2008 Olympics. The winners’ finals take place this Saturday, with Ballistix and MVP Miracle kicking things off at 02:30 / 11:30 CET. The grand final starts the following day at 03:30 PST / 12:30 CET. Make sure to catch all the action here.

PC Gamer

After four years of war-torn terrorising and counter-terrorising, CS:GO has been modified to include interchangeable weather patterns—each designed to alter fighter playstyles. 

Courtesy of modders Lewis Palfrey and Luke Millanta, de_dust2_w introduces "varying weather patterns" to one the game's most popular maps, dust2, and also extends to its Cache, Mirage and Overpass arenas. "There is a pool of ten different weather patterns," reads the mod's Steam Workshop description. "At the start of each round one of these weather patterns is selected."

Speaking to Eurogamer, Millanta explains that he came up with the idea for manipulable weather in CS:GO in August, however required the support of someone better versed in map making. Known for his work within the CS:GO and GoldenEye: Source communities, Palfrey obliged and set about helping Millanta realise his idea.

"When raining it is harder to both hear enemies approaching and to see without the aid of a sniper rifle," Millanta tells EG. "This means that while your enemy may have an advantage while AWPing [aka while using the Arctic Warfare Magnum sniper rifle, famous for one-hit kills], it is easier for those stealthy players to sneak up on said AWPers. The feedback thus far has been quite good."

If you're a Counter Striker, I'd love to know your thoughts on this in the comments below. Here's a gallery of Millanta and Palfrey's work in action. 

PC Gamer

In its latest update, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive moves closer to becoming a full-pelt military catwalk sim with the introduction of new cosmetic gloves. Now you needn't flaunt your impeccable taste in fatigues via the medium of gun alone: now your gloves can be nice-looking, too. I dare say it'll also prove a lucrative new microtransaction beat for Valve.

Here are a few examples from the Glove Case, which boasts 24 all-new gloves, as well as 17 new weapon skins:

One thing's for sure: they are both glove skins. The update ushers in a few other new additions as well, such as Steam Group Lobbies. These allow you to join lobbies based on the Steam Groups you follow. Meanwhile, there is new Music Kit too, from the likes of Hundredth, Beartooth, Blitz Kids and the delicately named Skog.

The full update notes are over here, though that's about the gist of it.


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