Valve

The International 2014: must-watch games from day one

Chris Thursten at

Day one is over. Even though none of the teams in the upper bracket faced elimination today, success at this stage meant securing vast proportions of the prize pool in advance of the rest of the tournament. For the team that managed to earn their place in the grand final, it meant a guaranteed place in history as contenders for the single biggest reward ever offered in competitive gaming.


Valve responds to open letter on Steam security concerns, says its system is "robust"

Andy Chalk at

In response to an open letter written by a group of developers and "concerned citizens" criticizing the company for its inconsistent handling of security issues on Steam, Valve has created a new security web page explaining its processes for handling reports but says there are no plans to introduce a "bug bounty program."


The International 2014 will be broadcast on ESPN

Andy Chalk at

The 2014 edition of The International Dota 2 Championships, better known to gamers as simply The International, will be broadcast live on ESPN3, while an exclusive preview of the final match that will include an interview with Gabe Newell will be carried on ESPN2.


The International 2014: everything you need to know before the main event

Chris Thursten at

After an eventful group stage, the International begins in earnest tomorrow. Of the nineteen teams in contention for the Aegis of Champions on the 8th of July, eight remain. Over four days at Seattle's KeyArena, those eight teams will fight to secure the lion's share of the largest prize pool in competitive gaming history. The winner will take away just shy of $5m. But this extraordinary reward, most players will tell you, isn't the point. The International is Dota 2's alpha and omega: it is where reputations are made, where teams are proven. Many of the matchups you watch this weekend will never come about in the same way again; the stress of falling short at The International is enough to tear lineups apart and force teams to start over. This is the end of the biggest year in the game's life and the beginning of the next.


Portal 2 mod Aperture Tag releases on Steam, for a price

Phil Savage at

Mods, eh? The fun, free way to extend and/or fix your games. But what's this? Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative looks like a mod, behaves like a mod, and even has the word "MOD" in the corner of its Steam icon. The difference: it's not priced like a mod. This premium package offers a new campaign for Portal 2—one that does away with portals entirely, in favour of puzzles centred around the base game's gels.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive could get its own international tournament

Shaun Prescott at

Dota 2's The International has been immensely popular, with more than $10 million worth of crowdfunded prizes up for grabs. It's no surprise, given Dota 2's Steam domination. So it only makes sense that Valve should consider the same treatment for some of its other properties. Obviously, a Counter-Strike international tournament would not go astray.


Three Lane Highway: unstoppable forces, immovable objects, and other thoughts on the metagame

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

'Metagame' is a sharp, cyberpunkish word for a pretty cloudy and unscientific concept. Which is not to say that it's impossible to get an exact read on a game's competitive landscape, but that sense of certainty is usually unsustainable. The moment a team does something that nobody expects and it works, questions are raised. Figuring out the answers to those questions - or watching other people do it - is one of the major draws of this part of the hobby. It's natural to chase certainty, to be sure, but it's doubt that creates drama.

Team Fortress 2 update introduces a new mode through beta maps

Phil Savage at

Valve took a three day run-up to its Love and War update, with daily teasers for what, in reality, amounted to some new taunts and weapons. You'd think, then, that the introduction of a new game mode would warrant something spectacular. Instead—perhaps fittingly for a game made by the company responsible for Steam—it's being launched into Early Access. Yesterday's TF2 update added two new "beta maps" to the game. They're rough, unbalanced, and, in some cases, untextured, but one of them is our first taste of the new Robot Destruction game type.


Half-Life 2 review — November 2004, UK edition

PC Gamer at

Every week, we publish a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s. This week, Ben Griffin provides context and commentary followed by the full, original text of our Half-Life 2 review, published in the November 2004 issue of PC Gamer UK. More classic reviews here.

What more can be said about Half-Life 2? Jim Rossignol's words below still do a fine job of summing up just why the world got worked up over a singleplayer shooter. November 2004 was a standout month for PC gaming, and indeed PC Gamer.

Dota 2 gets its own kart racer in the form of 'Dota Dash'

Shaun Prescott at

2014 will go down in history as the year Very Serious PC games got a karting mode. First it was Arma 3, and now Dota 2. While 'Dota Dash' doesn't look like the most polished karting game, it will no doubt please those who, for some reason, desire to burn around Dota 2 maps collecting power-ups and dropping bananas.


Dota 2's The International prize pool distribution revealed, newcomer streams promised

Phil Savage at

It's an exciting month for fans of DIGITAL SPORT. We're only a few days away from the start of The International's play-offs and exactly two weeks from the main event. Valve are preparing for the Dota 2 tournament's kick... er, creep-off with the launch of the official International mini-site. With it, they've announced the competition's prize-pool distribution, and the multitude of ways for fans—and newcomers—to watch.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive highlights more community maps in Operation: Breakout

Phil Savage at

Where next on the terrorism/counter-terrorism world tour that is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive? Valve have launched Operation: Breakout—the latest in a series of seasonal events for the competitive shooter. This time, the community-created maps that it spotlights are available in official matchmaking to all players.


Three Lane Highway: what it means when games become sport—and why you should care

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes serious, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. The image above is from the ESL Flickr account.

We've always had a complicated relationship with e-sports. By 'we' I mean not just PC Gamer but PC gamers: I think it's fair to say that the paradigm shift that e-sports represent hasn't always been widely understood or accepted. That makes sense—it's a form of gaming that the majority of gamers will never participate directly in, and this is a hobby that is defined by participation.

ESL One Frankfurt: Loda discusses Alliance's tournament performance, rat Dota, and the impact of winning The International

Chris Thursten at

Jonathan 'Loda' Berg has been part of the competitive Dota scene for as long as there's been a scene to be part of. He was the man holding the Aegis of Champions aloft at the end of The International 2013, and his team—Alliance—are one of the most effective, efficient, and idiosyncratic teams in the world. I first met Loda at TI3, when I interviewed him the night before the grand final. That interview became this article. After Alliance's loss to tournament champions iG in the semi finals of ESL One Frankfurt I spoke to Loda for half an hour about the current metagame, that incredible match against Cloud 9, and the way that winning TI3 has affected Alliance for better and for worse. This is a long interview, but I think most Dota fans would appreciate seeing the whole thing so you'll find it all below.


ESL One Frankfurt: day two in review

Chris Thursten at

Images courtesy of the official ESL Twitter account.

'Timing' has been the watchword of this entire tournament. It was a concern this morning, when another late start threatened to force the entire show to run long, with the last quarterfinal match - Na'Vi vs. EG - not starting until 10.30am. It was a concern when the arena's internet connection went down and when Fnatic's voice comms broke for twenty minutes. It was a concern in-game, too, as the strengths and weaknesses of today's greedy, ult-centric metagame came down to who had power at the exact minute when it counted.

Timing problems caused a fair amount of heartache today, but I also got to see a terrific showcase of what the best Dota 2 teams can achieve when they're moving to their own rhythm. In addition, the event itself held together despite the technical problems to deliver one of the best large-scale e-sports experiences that Europe has seen since TI1. Great casting and analysis and a hugely engaged crowd made Frankfurt a great place to spend a weekend - and I'm not just saying that because I've been surviving on beer, sausages and energy drinks since Saturday morning. Well, mostly. The point is: it's gone midnight and I've got games to discuss, so let's get into it. As ever, spoilers below.

The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 11

PC Gamer at

Steam's sales traditionally end with the most popular offers from previous days being resurrected for a sort of victory lap, and this year is no different. They've put most of the daily deals on offer again, so if you missed out on Dragon Age or Skyrim or XCOM and you've been ruing your indecision ever since, now's your chance to make up for it. It's also your last chance to pick up any other games on offer in the sale, now that there's no chance of them being reduced further in a daily or flash sale.

Don’t forget to check out GOG’s summer deals, too, which coincidentally will be ending at around the same time. GOG have resurrected all of their previous daily deals, along with a ton of flash sales refreshing every couple of hours.


ESL One Frankfurt: Mousesports' Pajkatt talks Axe, iG, and why Dota 2 should be played live

Chris Thursten at

Image via the official ESL Twitter account.

Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson Lille has been playing competitive Dota since prior to the first International, which he attended with Online Kingdom. He played for LGD.int at TI2 and will return this year with Mousesports, formerly Team Dog, who earned their place in TI4 with a fantastic performance in the European qualifiers. Yesterday, they got knocked out of ESL One Frankfurt following a close-fought – and very exciting – series of matches against Invictius Gaming.

I spoke to Pajkatt an hour after the game to talk about that first blood, the reasons why they lost, the danger of Pugna and the plan between now and TI4.

ESL One Frankfurt: day one in review

Chris Thursten at

Images courtesy of the ESL Twitter account.

What an incredible day for DIGITAL SPORTS. You get used to the idea that these events are always going to get bigger; that the next step up is always going to mean a larger stadium and more impressive production values. But there's something pretty startling about seeing games played at the highest level in an environment like the Commerzbank Arena. It's more than you get from attending other kinds of large gaming convention: it's not just about having something in common with thousands of other people. It's about the catalysing impact of sport, the way a hobby can grow and grow and grow until it becomes a spectacle.

The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 10

PC Gamer at

It's always a bit weird seeing how quickly game prices depreciate, particularly when a Steam sale is involved. The pick of today's deals - Wolfenstein: The New Order - is only a few weeks old, but it can now be had for a delicious 50% off. The question is, with only a few days left of the summer sale, what other surprises lie in store? The other question is: can your wallet take any more of this? If the answer is 'yes', join us after the break.


The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 9

PC Gamer at

There aren’t any big surprises in today’s Daily Deals (how many times has GTAIV been discounted?), but cheap games are cheap games and there are some good ones today. There are also some holdovers from previous days, such as the BioShock Triple Pack, which has only lost 8% of its discount since Wednesday. Peek at our picks from previous days to see if any former Daily Deals are still discounted.