Editorial

Three Lane Highway: how to communicate effectively in solo ranked matchmaking

0 Comments
Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

It's scary, talking to strangers. You probably spent the first ten years of your life being told not to do it, the second ten years of your life trying to summon the courage to do it, and the third ten years of your life doing it but wishing that you were somewhere else. Playing Dota 2 by yourself complicates this already complicated scenario. Language differences. Age differences. Wildly divergent opinions on topics like 'who's fault was that' and 'what are reports for'.

Opinion: Blizzard needs to do more to keep average Hearthstone players interested

16 Comments
Tim Clark at

I've entered into a strange love/hate relationship with Hearthstone over the past month, the upshot of which is I'm not sure whether I want to keep playing it anymore, and yet I find myself entirely incapable of stopping. Trying to improve my scattershot performance has drawn me into Hearthstone's 'meta game', where expert players create decks designed to beat the system. At least until the system changes and the cycle changes again.


Why Manveer Heir's attack on stereotypes in games was the most important moment of GDC 2014

0 Comments
Tom Senior at

Bioware Montreal developer Manveer Heir received a standing ovation at GDC this week for his speech challenging the prevalence of lazy, reductive stereotypes in games. He implored the industry to "stop being so scared", and start making games with more diverse characters in an effort to "reject stereotypes as a social responsibility to mankind".

The speech formed one part of this year's advocacy series of presentations, which explored problematic issues in gamer culture and the industry at large. The clarity and passion of Heir's speech in particular proved a stand-out moment, not just because of the issues at stake, but because of his mature, reasoned approach to stimulating debate around the depiction of gender, race and sexuality in games.


The week's highs and lows in PC Gaming

0 Comments
PC Gamer at

Every week, the PC Gamer team pick their most and least favourite happenings from the last seven days. Here you'll find the week's soaring highs and stagnant lows, picked from the news, the games we've played, the culture at large. The only thing that's guaranteed is there'll be no neutral opinions.


Three Lane Highway: Valve's Dota 2 documentary sets an example for the community

4 Comments
Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. Previously a Tumblr blog, it now runs every week on PC Gamer.

Being in the crowd during The International 2013 grand finals was more or less the highlight of my career. It was certainly one of the most powerful experiences I've had in connection with a videogame. When Alliance won and green confetti streamed from the ceiling and the Dota 2 theme started to play and the crowd were on their feet I understood something about sport that I'd never really understood before. It was one of those rare moments when you are aware that you are experiencing something important even as you experience it. The adrenaline didn't give out until deep into the early hours of the following morning.

Three Lane Highway: why now is a great time to introduce new players to Dota 2

0 Comments
Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. Previously a Tumblr blog, it now runs every week on PC Gamer.

Introducing somebody to Dota 2 is hard, and gets harder as your own skills improve. I was lucky to start playing with a group of people who all had exactly the same amount of prior experience - zero - and who were relaxed enough in each other's company to dodge the bickering and gamesmanship that skill imbalances can provoke. Most of the time.

Three Lane Highway: what Gabe Newell's choice of Dota 2 hero really means

10 Comments
Chris Thursten at

Welcome to Three Lane Highway, Chris' weekly column all about Dota 2.

Sand King is - like Lich, Axe, and, I like to think, Phoenix - a gentleman's hero. Characters with a lot of early and midgame potential are key to setting the pace of the match, and if your team is snowballing off the back of a few crucial early kills then it's likely that someone like Sand King was involved. Opting to play Sand King is a declaration that you are a team player; that you will buy wards and smoke; that first blood will be secured with a reliable two second stun and the sound - distant, like thunder - of somebody listening to Darude.

What we want from Windows 9

3 Comments
PC Gamer at

Windows 8 hasn't exactly been a stunning success. Fewer than 12 percent of PCs run Windows 8 or 8.1, compared with 47 percent for Windows 7 and 29 percent for XP. It's still more than Mac OS X and Vista combined, but that's small consolation. So we're already looking forward to Windows 9, which will hopefully continue the tradition—firmly entrenched in both Windows and Star Trek chronology—of coming out with something good every other try. (Galaxy Quest counts as one of the good Star Treks, by the way.)

Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, is still at least a year away. Sourcey-types peg it at April 2015, so there's plenty of time for Microsoft to release something that's fully baked to make up for the melange of awesome and not-awesome that is Windows 8. So with that, here are our demands for Windows 9.

Valve is nipping at your heels, Microsoft. It's time to pay attention to PC gamers again.


How net neutrality affects PC gamers

0 Comments
Wes Fenlon at

Net neutrality taking a beating isn't going to stop you from playing Battlefield, or prompt restrictive bandwidth caps overnight that make it harder to download games from Steam. Tuesday's decision likely won't affect your day-to-day gaming at all.

But net neutrality is still something you should care about. If you've ever streamed a game on Twitch, followed an amazing speedrunning event like Awesome Games Done Quick, or watched a YouTube archive of a world record solo eggplant run in Spelunky, Tuesday's ruling could impact elements of the PC gaming community you care about.


Steam Machines are expensive, ugly, but full of potential

29 Comments
Tom Senior at

The Steam Machines are upon us. It was always clear that Valve were working with other companies to bring gaming PCs to the living room. We expected four or five, but 13? A new market has sprung up overnight, which means plenty of competition to judge. These small, weird and occasionally ugly new devices represent an exciting future for the platform, not because of the technology, but because of the new audiences it could usher into the unifying embrace of PC gaming. Let's take a look at the Steam Machines we have so far. Which ones are good value for money? Which ones look the best? What will they do for PC gaming?


Steam Controller isn't enough: why PC gamers need a couch-friendly keyboard and mouse

3 Comments
Evan Lahti at

In 2013 Valve told us that it’s making a controller, an operating system, and is sanctioning PC manufacturers to create Steam Machines. The three-pronged campaign to put Steam in your living room, deliberately revealed ahead of the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, was the biggest PC gaming news of the year. It’s a move that establishes Valve as something that resembles a platform holder, something it’s been hesitant to do despite being the PC’s biggest online retailer.


2013 in PC gaming: What was your finest gaming moment of 2013?

0 Comments
PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


2013 in PC gaming: Rising Storm vs. Battlefield 4

0 Comments
PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days to close out the year with champagne and a new XCOM campaign, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to discuss how two of our favorite 64-player shooters created very different experiences this year. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


2013 in PC gaming: Reflecting on BioShock Infinite

0 Comments
PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days of making resolutions and breaking last year's, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to talk about BioShock Infinite, and how they feel about it now that the buzzing excitement and debates have settled into a low hum. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


2013 in PC gaming: What surprised you the most in 2013?

0 Comments
PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days to visit family and then de-stress in DayZ, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the biggest surprises of 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


2013 in PC gaming: What games did we play the most?

1 Comments
PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days of holiday revelry and hardcore gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the games they put the most time into in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


Living with Linux: how open-source OS gaming stacks up against Windows

50 Comments
Craig Pearson at

2013 has been a big year for Linux gaming. For the first time, there's a glimmer of hope for a gaming future for the OS. Games are being built in Unity, being sold in Humble Bundles (which tend to require Linux versions), and though it's more of a trickle than a flood, things are picking up a little. And then there's Steam. Valve's push towards Linux, with an existing Steam client as well as a Linux-based OS in the works, mirrors my own frustrations with Windows: I'd quite like an OS that's not going to completely change shape, size, colour, and usability when it comes time to upgrade it, but I'd like to have a supported OS as well. So once a year I'll try out Linux's friendliest face, Ubuntu. Is this the year it stays on my PC*?

My initial plan was to dual-boot my Windows 7 desktop with the latest version of Ubuntu. I have a laptop with Nvidia Optimus (it has two GFX cards: one Intel card for undemanding chores, then it swaps to the Nvidia card when it needs more power), and the driver support for that in Windows is a mess, so I didn't imagine Ubuntu mobile drivers would fare any better. But Ubuntu just didn't want to install where I wanted it to install on my desktop. No matter what I tried, it would attempt to squeeze onto a hard-drive that ultimately wouldn't allow it to boot. This left me with little option but to make room on the Optimus laptop and install it there. After a relatively painless few minutes, I was dual-booting PC with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 13.10. So far so good.


Call of Duty dog: the definitive PC Gamer hands-on review

64 Comments
Philippa Warr at

The most important thing about Call of Duty: Ghosts is the fact there is a dog. Therefore it is only logical to conclude that the most important thing about the Call of Duty: Ghosts launch party is the fact that there was a dog. A real dog, that it was possible to pet. As conscientious videogame journalists we thought it only right that we reviewed this crucial part of the game for you. We're selfless like that.


Battlefield 4 beta impressions: campers, connection issues and collapsing skyscrapers

91 Comments
PC Gamer at

Clan leader John Strike charges into the Battlefield 4 beta to find out what's new, old, better and broken.

Why was I nervous? It wasn’t like I was at a job interview or even meeting my girlfriend’s favourite dog for the first time. Yet here I was sitting at the computer at 8:55 AM, my bottom chewing on my underpants in apprehension at the beta release of Battlefield 4.

I've poured 900 hours into Battlefield 3. As a clan leader, I couldn't help but fear for my ruthless band of buddies should Battlefield 4 not cut the mustard. Casting my mind back to Battlefield 3’s beta some two years ago I knew what problems to expect: connection problems, performance problems, clipping problems. I feared that the beta might collapse harder and faster than Seige of Shanghai's destructible skyscraper. At first, it did.

The pros and cons of SteamOS

147 Comments
Tyler Wilde at

By announcing SteamOS yesterday, Valve declared that PC gaming is more than desktop gaming, that Windows is not our master, and that—finally—cats can own Steam accounts. The free, Linux-based, cat-friendly operating system is designed for gaming on living room PCs, because PC gaming according to Valve isn't about WASD and DirectX—it's about openness and collaboration.

We're free to choose our hardware, our software, our mods, and soon more than ever, how we play, where we play, and whether or not Microsoft gets a cut. If SteamOS takes off, PC gaming will undergo one of its most dramatic changes ever—possibly one more significant than the introduction of the free-to-play model and crowdfunding. That's thrilling, but also scary as hell, so we've worked through our fears with a list of SteamOS pros and cons, followed by deep breaths in anticipation of tomorrow's announcement.