In this week's News Round-Up: CS:GO's "Operation Bloodhound" introduces 6 community maps, the delayed Source 2 port of Dota 2 may be splitting things up somewhat, and Portal is relevant again with the releases of both Portal Pinball and the Portal Stories: Mel mod!
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After a full week of near-constant competition, all of the Qualifier events for The International 2015 have finally concluded. In total, 32 teams have been knocked out of the tournament, leaving 4 Winners and 4 Runner-Ups, listed below.
Chinese Qualifier: EHOME
Americas Qualifier: Complexity Gaming
Southeast Asia Qualifier: MVP.Hot6ix
European Qualifier: Na'Vi
Chinese Qualifier: CDEC
Americas Qualifier: North American Rejects
Southeast Asia Qualifier: MVP.Phoenix
European Qualifier: Vega Squadron
While the Qualifier Winners will enter straight into the main event when The International 2015 begins in August 2015, the Runner-Ups will be pitted against one another in the Wild Card tournament in order to determine which two teams are good enough to secure the final two slots. With the prize pool for The International 2015 now well over $10,000,000 and with two months to go until the event even begins, it's going to be one hell of a ride which we can't wait to experience.
While the intended launch window for the Source 2 version of Dota 2 of "Spring 2015" has now long since passed, a game update released earlier this evening revealed a small, yet important, piece of new information. As shown here by SteamDB's GameTracking page over on Github, the update introduced two new (currently unused) lines of code, listed below.
For a highly competitive game such as Dota 2, we feel it's very important for the game's balance, stability, and performance to remain as consistent as possible in order to not unfairly affect the player experience. Briefly splitting the game onto two clients (such as with the current "Normal" and "Test" clients) is an excellent idea on paper which would allow Valve to continually iterate and improve the Source 2 version without hampering the experience of those players who couldn't care less about the upgrade or those which would rather focus on Ranked matches or competitive play on the older engine.
However, we feel it's important to stress the need to dissolve the two clients once the Source 2 variant is up and running as optimally as possible, as splitting the community down the middle across two clients could prove disastrous, much the same way the Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 communities were permanently fractured several years ago. That said, it's still an interesting development, and we'll be sure to let you know if and when we learn more about the future of Dota 2 and the Source 2 engine.
After an unusual period of silence from the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive development team, Valve have today announced "Operation Bloodhound", the latest community map pack. Like previous packs, Bloodhound introduces six community-created maps and makes them available to play on official Valve-owned servers until the end of the event on September 30th 2015.
The six maps include newcomers Resort, Zoo, Log, and Rails alongside returning fan favourites Agency and Season, both of which previously featured in Operations Phoenix and Vanguard, respectively. As usual, all players can check out these maps for free, but those looking to support both Valve and the map's creators can choose to purchase a "Operation Bloodhound Access Pass" which unlocks a bunch of interesting bonuses. These include the upgrade-able Challenge Coin, a stat-tracking Journal, two new "campaigns" comprised of 62 individual objective-specific missions, and exclusive access to gun and knife finishes from a number of Weapon Cases both new and old.
There's plenty on offer for those not wanting to purchase an Access Pass, however, as a new addition to CS:GO is known as "Profile Ranks", a new XP-based system attached to every user's game profile. XP can be earned from completing any of the 62 missions mentioned a few sentences ago, and by participating in both Competitive and Casual games. For the first time a user levels up their profile each week, they will be provided a single weapon drop, with the type and rarity being at least partially influenced by whether or not they own an Access Pass.
We've been talking about it a bunch recently, but it's finally time to take a really good look at Portal Pinball, the new spin-off downloadable content for Pinball FX2 by Zen Studios. The studio have kindly provided us with early access to the game, so let's dive right in and find out how it plays!
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