Image credit: Valve, Twitch The upcoming Kiev Major is one of the most important tournaments of the Dota season, a big tournament in its own right, and an important qualifier for the multi-million dollar The International, Dota’s equal part World Cup and Super Bowl. But if you haven’t been plugged into the Dota community for the last few months, you’re not likely to recognize some of the teams playing in Kiev. Advertisement Winning at Kiev means garnering favor in the eyes of Valve, who determine which teams get a direct invite to The International, and which teams have to earn one through a gauntlet of qualifiers. Last year, five of the top six teams at the major prior to The International received a direct invite. A win in Kiev doesn’t just mean the lion’s share of a $3 million prize pool, but also a surefire shot at the grand prize. But who are the teams competing in Kiev? Ad Finem, the Greek underdogs who took second at the Boston Major, are now under the Mousesports banner. After a Facebook post describing a mutual termination, the former five were picked up by hot-and-cold READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
As a result of the abusive use of multiple accounts for Ranked matches, Valve has announced a new update coming to DOTA 2 to require phone number registration to a single account, as well as a few new matchmaking and report features. …Read More The post Valve Announces DOTA 2 Update Requiring Phone Number Registration for Ranked Play by Jordan Loeffler appeared first on DualShockers.
One year ago, popular streamer Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar dropped the proverbial ball off a cliff when, while subbing on a pro CSGO team, he managed to lose a round he’d basically won by walking into his own molotov. The moment became infamous overnight. Now, though, Summit has redeemed himself. With his face. Advertisement This year, Summit ended his hiatus from pro CSGO and joined a team called Mythic. During a match the team streamed, Summit once again came face-to-face with his old nemesis, on the same map as the comically unfortunate Molotov Incident, no less. This time, though, Summit prevailed: [embedded content] Skip to 1:29:30 to see the moment unfold. Advertisement A member of the other team hurled a molotov intended to give Summit’s team a lot of trouble. They did not, however, count on Summit barreling down the hallway and blocking the molotov with his face. Neither did Summit, for that matter. “I think I blocked a molly,” he shouted as he took out the person who threw it. “I did! That was a complete accident.” Then he referenced the 2016 molotov incident, which READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve In an update to the Dota 2 matchmaking services today, Valve announced that players will have to register a unique phone number in order to compete in ranked matches. Advertisement This move was made to combat players who use multiple accounts to ruin others’ ranked matches. The act of “smurfing,” or creating secondary accounts to play on, is common for most free-to-play competitive games, but in Dota 2 it can result in players tanking ranked matches without real consequences. A two-week grace period, starting today, will allow players time to register unique phone numbers to their Steam account. Starting May 4, any account without a registered phone number will no longer be eligible to compete on the ranked ladder. Advertisement Dota pros and personalities took to social media to express their thoughts on the change: Other changes, including an option for solo queue players to only match up with other lone wolves and adjustments to party calculations, seem set to further deal with issues of smurfing in the Dota scene. Low-priority bans also apply duration-based bans to ranked matchmaking, and a few underpopulated READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Steam has some damn good games. It also has some extremely bad ones. Which ones, though, have the lowest ratings on the whole service? Advertisement A Steam game’s overall rating is calculated based on what percent of its reviews are positive. Now, Steam reviews are user-based, and they come from very particular users on a very particular platform, despite how large said platform might be. This means that Steam reviews—especially when converted into an aggregate number—are by no means an objective or definitive measure of a game’s quality. They’re far more indicative, I would argue, of particular times and circumstances, of the cultures surrounding individual games and the broader Steam culture that informs them. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, then, is revealing. These are probably not the worst games on Steam. They’re just the ones that earned the most ire. Rating: 19 percent positive. What it’s about: “You take control of a lone astronaut that lands on the surface of a planet, miles away from the other members. And it’s your job to meet up with the other astronauts.” Advertisement So basically: It’s a READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
In Counter-Strike, nobody’s entirely certain how molotov cocktails are supposed to work when smoke grenades enter the picture. Sometimes smokes put out molotovs when they land on top of them, but not always. Other times, smokes magically douse flames through walls. Recently, it even happened in a pro game. Advertisement During a StarSeries Season 3 match between NiP and G2, NiP benefited big time from the notorious glitch. One G2 player hurled a molotov to block NiP’s push out of a narrow corridor, but smoke from a smoke grenade clipped through the wall and immediately extinguished the fire. Whoops! [embedded content] Fast forward to 10:15:23 to see the moment unfold. Advertisement No longer pressured by what should’ve been a reliable counter, NiP sprang into action and took G2 by surprise. They went on to narrowly take the round. Obviously, it shouldn’t have happened that way, but this bug has been around for ages—more than a year, by some players’ estimates—and there’s simply no accounting for it. In fact, during the same tournament, another team, FaZe Clan, fell victim to the same bug, except this time, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
These days, more than anything else, Valve is a merchant. The company has made fantastic video games in the past like Portal and Half-Life. But aside from boatloads of cash raked in through “free” game Dota 2, it’s the profits Valve earns by selling other company’s PC games online on Steam that keeps the business afloat. That’s what pays for all those cool VR headsets and half-forgotten Linux boxes. However, as Steam has grown in ubiquity, its problems have also become more frustrating. Steam Greenlight was created to give smaller indie development teams a shot at vital visibility through user voting, but more cynical developers have gamed the service to flood the market with trash to make a quick buck. Greenlight’s upcoming replacement Steam Direct may fix some of these issues by accepting any game that pays the entrance fee. However, Valve now admits its service may have a problem with cheap and low-quality “fake” games that in the past two years have grown to make up a shockingly large percentage of Steam’s total library. [embedded content] To combat this scourge. Valve recently invited popular YouTubers and Steam critics/curators Jim Sterling READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!
Recently, Valve had two popular YouTubers, John “TotalBiscuit” Bane and Jim “Jim Sterling” Sterling, visit their offices. Over the course of a day-long series of meetings, the company laid out a roadmap for the future of Steam. Advertisement Both Bane and Sterling posted lengthy videos about their descent into GabeN’s mystery dungeon. You can watch those here: For those who don’t have the time to watch a cumulative hour and 24 minutes of video, here’s a blow-by-blow (bear in mind that this information is secondhand from people who, while generally trustworthy, are not Valve): Valve is about to overhaul Steam in order to ensure that good games are visible and lazily developed games created for the purpose of making a quick buck—which Valve apparently calls “fake games”—sink beneath a sea of algorithms. They’ve already laid the groundwork, which is why they recently announced Steam Direct. The problem with this system, of course, is that it risks burying a handful of good games, as well. To combat this issue, Valve is going to introduce a program called Steam Explorers. Explorers will play through queues of games that haven’t been selling super well. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve Designers who say they are able to make a living selling outfits and skins for Dota 2 say they may need to get new gigs now that they’ve noticed an unannounced change to the game’s economy affecting their bank accounts. Advertisement In a post on the Dota 2 subreddit, a collective of anonymous artists alleged that Valve has not only been paying them less for items, but doing so without having properly notified them. We reached out to this collective, who agreed to discuss the issues on condition of anonymity because they fear Valve will retaliate against them. (We also reached out to Valve for comment, but did not receive a reply by publication time.) Cosmetics are an attraction for any game, letting players customize their favorite character’s appearance for a small price. In Dota 2, custom content is a marketplace, where independent artists can create sets of cosmetics and sell them. Recent changes, however, have turned what was once a thriving economy into a hollow shell. When an artist creates a set—a complete collection of cosmetics that gives a hero new pieces of armor READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Steam’s latest offers in its Weekend Deals include titles such as Watch Dogs 2, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, and a free weekend with Killing Floor 2. …Read More The post Steam’s Weekend Deals Include Ubisoft Publisher Sale, Resident Evil, Killing Floor 2, and More by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.
Ludwig “Zai” Wåhlberg isn’t even 20-years-old and he’s already won over $1.1 million in esports prize money. In an exhibition match on Friday against recently formed Onyx, the Evil Geniuses player decided to transform into a tree and try to mess with his opponents just for the hell of it. Advertisement Monkey King is the latest character to be added to Valve’s popular competitive strategy game. The Dota 2 character can, among other things, change his appearance using an ability called “Mischief.” That’s what Zai did early in the second King of the Hill best-of-three series when he found himself behind enemy lines with a chance to snipe the enemy team’s courier. Players in Dota 2 rely in part on upgrading items to get more powerful, and the courier is one way to transport them around the map. “Sniping” it can cause the opposing team a world of headaches, effectively shutting down their supply chain for a few minutes before a new one can respawn. It’s the kind of play that’s hard to resist. Beyond the material advantage it bestows, it also doubles as a sort of “fuck you” READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Yesterday, Counter-Strike received its first new Valve-developed map in quite some time. It’s called Canals, and it’s based on a (conspicuously unnamed) “historic Italian city” that is definitely Venice. The initial reaction, however, has not exactly been love at first sight. Advertisement Canals, you see, is not a typical CSGO map. It’s got multiple weird routes to the B bomb site for both teams, and the site itself is dangerously enclosed. The A site, meanwhile, is almost the polar opposite: open and surrounded by cover. Many, however, feel like Canals is a poorly balanced first draft, rather than a polished execution of something new. For example, players like DrakePHOSE have pointed out that the terrorist team can reach the B bomb site too quickly, in a way that can deny the counter-terrorist team of precious preparation time: Other players, like Cruxal, have taken issue with how exposed CTs are on the fastest route to the B bomb site, the small size of said bomb site (which makes it perhaps overly susceptible to molotovs), and the general feel and pace of the map: Again, though, Canals is, in many ways, not READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Illustration by Sam Woolley Gambling on esports matches is, right now, unsafe and unfair for bettors, just as gambling on traditional sports is. As you’d expect, people are still doing it anyway; and as you’d expect, laws and regulations have struggled to keep up. Advertisement The facts, neutrally stated, are simple: In the United States, esports betting—as with sports betting generally—is only legal in the state of Nevada. Read it as a testament to human ingenuity or to the depths degenerates will go to to get action, but fans and bettors have found plenty of unsavory online spaces to place wagers anyway. This may be good and it may be bad; what you think probably depends on whether you’re in the money. Skin betting, the trend that wouldn’t die Skin bettors don’t use U.S. dollars, but instead bet with “skins”—video game items that can alter the appearance of, say, a character’s weapon. Skins from Valve Corporation’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are the go-to casino chip of choice on most skin betting sites. Advertisement Skins are valued at different amounts. CS:GO’s Karambit Doppler covert knife skin is READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
It looks like Valve is changing things on Steam once again. If you got a game during one of Valve’s free promotional weekends or as a gift from a friend, then your review for it will no longer count towards its overall score. Here is how Valve explains it: “In September, we made some adjustments to how the review score was calculated for each product. You can read about those changes and the reasoning behind it here. We’re continuing with a few more changes in this direction to improve the relevance of the score by better reflecting the sentiment expressed by invested, paying customers.” “With the changes, we are making now, the review score (shown at the top of store pages and in various places throughout the store such as search results) will no longer include reviews by users that received the game for free, such as via a gift, or during a free weekend. Reviews can still be written by customers that obtained the game in any of these ways, but the review will not count toward the overall review score.” The reasoning behind this is interesting. Valve believes people who pay READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!