Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Valve are joining all those great internet thought-leaders and telling you to clean your room, or at the very least to play the games that you’ve bought on Steam. Running this weekend until May 28th, 6pm GMT, the Steam Spring Cleaning Event provides a front-page checklist of games to try or return to, and rewarding the diligent with goodies to decorate their account page with.

All fluff, really, but as good an excuse as any to dust off something you might have picked up a few sales back. Of course, undermining this push, there’s also a bunch of free weekend trials open on discounted games which also count towards your total. The list includes action RPG Grim Dawn, four-on-one competitive horror game Dead By Daylight and stylish 4X sci-fi strategy game Endless Space 2.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Dota Auto Chess, the most popular mod in Dota 2 these days (and which has nothing to do with chess), is becoming a standalone game made by Valve themselves. I had not predicted that this would be Valve’s next game. Valve say they talked with mod creators Drodo Studio about working together and, while dreams of collaboration fell flat, they did agree to each work on their own versions of it. Presumably some money is changing hands too? So Valve are now making a standalone Dota Auto Chess while Drodo are continuing to work on the mod as well as their own mobile game that basically just replaces the characters. So that’s a game based on a mod for a game based on a Warcraft 3 mod based on a StarCraft mod.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

Dota 2‘s International 2019 Battle Pass has plenty of issues. As Matt wrote earlier this month, alongside a waterfall of cosmetics and a special mode, the pass will unlock an in-game assistant that seems to give owners an advantage over those who haven t forked over at least 7.50/$10. But (as reported by The Verge) the pass is paywalling another key feature the ability to avoid players.

Obviously, you shouldn t have to pay to access the ability to not group up with abusive players. Valve calls this an experimental feature (by many accounts it s not working well), suggesting that it could be extended out to all players after this test on Battle Pass owners. More surprising, then, is the fact that Dota 2 has been out for six years without the option to not have to play with someone ruining the fun, whether it be throwing games or yelling slurs. And yet, even though how other people act is a huge part of the experience of many online games, giving players the ability to regulate their interactions often seems to be a secondary concern for developers.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Are you looking to meet heavily-armed and available men in your area for hot action… and maybe more? Someone who won’t flashbang you then run? Or fancy a group of like-minded murdermen for chat and banter? Pick up your mouse and click on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which has added a looking-for-group system to help players party up and party down. The game already has matchmaking but this lets players investigate each other and have a chat before they commit to anything.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

The jungle is a rumblin’, thanks to Dota 2‘s International 2019 Battle Pass. Nowadays Dota 2’s Battle Passes aren’t just big sticker books where you make predictions about how your favourite athletes will perform in the wizard world championships, they’re books you have to buy if you want to play a special mode and access features that give you an advantage. That first inclusion is fair. The second seems… real bad? Ach, we’ll get back to those.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rich McCormick)

I try not to make a habit of internalising internet comments, but I ll always remember one left on PC Gamer s Dota 2 review that came in when I worked there.

Nobody should be reviewing Dota unless they have more than 500 hours played.

The reviewer in question, the inimitable Chris Thursten, had north of 650 hours of Dota played at the time, and we told the commenter as much via reply. A few minutes later, another response came back.

He needs 750 hours.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

Thanks to a childhood wasted in virtual velociraptor fighting pits, I will never not hear the words “Danger Zone!” in the chipper yet exasperated tones of a struggling 90’s game show jingle singer. I lured you in with a dash of raptor chat, there, but sadly even after the latest update to Counter-Strike Global Offensive‘s battle royale mode, the dinosaur count remains at nill.

The new map, jumpy boots, springy mines and respawn system counts, on the other hand, have shot right up. I have had a good (brief) bouncy time.

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Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

“Toss a toilet at your friend today!”, goes the Steam blurb. That does rather capture the spirit of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, doesn’t it?

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

I say watch because this week’s podcast takes place in a real room in front of a real audience (don t worry, there s an audio version too). At Rezzed in London this month, we thought it d be fun to re-enact three of the most memorable scenes of PC gaming, exactly as you remember them. So strap on your eye-wideners and prepare for some wonderful acting. Including a 100% faithful adaptation of the most notorious moment in any Final Fantasy game: the death of… Aerosmith?

Alice! Alice, what have you done to these scripts!?

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

This week we got a peek through the vastness of space, with the release of the very first image of a black hole ever captured by humans. Not long after, more players were making similar vast, galaxy destroying horrors in Dota 2 thanks to the abilities of mysterious hero Enigma. Correlation doesn t equal causation and all that, but it s not hard to imagine people getting nudged towards the character. After all, what s more human than seeing an incomprehensible celestial object and wanting one of your very own?

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