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Strap in: the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale has officially launched; here's all the best offers

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Strap in: the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale has officially launched; here's all the best offers

Hold onto your wallets - the Steam Holiday Sale is upon us! It’ll be a hard journey; your temptations will be tested from today, all the way until January 2nd. If of course you’re in the market for some pc games for ludicrous prices, then you may as well embrace it.

Day five's a good 'un. Saints Row IV, Papers, Please and Endless Legend are some of the highlights.

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The best Dota 2 Heroes for beginners

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The best Dota 2 Heroes for beginners

So you’ve finally gained access to that 'Dota 2' game everyone on your Steam friends is playing all the damn time. You boot it up, hit the 'find match' button, and after a short waiting period you’re in your first game. “All pick" the announcer bellows, as you’re presented with a dazzling selection of heroes to choose from. Going by the infallible logic of “pick the best looking", you pick Invoker.

That was my thought process when I got my hands on Dota 2 back in 2011; you can see the results of my first game here, but you can already guess the outcome. I did not perform well.

Luckily I found some patient souls from Sweden who taught me everything I know today, and now I want to try and pay it forward. Here’s the best heroes for you beginners out there.

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The Steam controller's design has been updated again. This time with a D Pad

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The Steam controller's design has been updated again. This time with a D Pad

Deep within the Steam Client beta, underneath a pile of old newspapers and next to calendar with the Half Life 3 release date scrawled in the margins, are designs for an updated version of the Steam controller.

Back when Valve first revealed their Steam Machines they showed off a controller with two haptic feedback pads and very few buttons. The latest design shows how much they’ve iterated.

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Steam gifts and trades from Russia have been stopped due to Ruble currency crash

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Steam gifts and trades from Russia have been stopped due to Ruble currency crash

Russia is deep in financial crisis right now as the value of the country’s ruble currency plummets. It’s affecting everything, and video games are no exclusion. Today Valve have decided to limit trading and gifting between the Russian market and other stronger economies to prevent people abusing the system to buy cheaper games.

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Dota 2's Frostivus may be canceled, but that's not stopped Valve shipping patch 6.83: Shifting Snows

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Dota 2's Frostivus may be canceled, but that's not stopped Valve shipping patch 6.83: Shifting Snows

A couple of weeks ago, Valve announced that they’d canceled Christmas in Dota 2, again. While it’s many players were obviously sad, they were reassured it was for the best: with a tease of a new engine update, due early next year, instead taking priority.

But that hasn’t stopped Valve and Icefrog from deploying patch 6.83: chock full of hero balancing, frosty treasures and the return of the snow covered map.

There’s also even a sneak peak at a new and upcoming hero: Winter Wyvern, but only if you have the eyes of an eagle.

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Red Bull's Seattle Dota LAN is cooking up a randomised team tournament with over 100 players

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Red Bull's Seattle Dota LAN is cooking up a randomised team tournament with over 100 players

In just a few hours, Red Bull will begin hosting one of the biggest Dota 2 LAN event in Seattle, second only to Valve’s own Dota 2 International earlier this year. The tournament isn’t your usual royal rumble of pro players either. Instead, over 100 everyday players have signed up to take part, with a sprinkling of seasoned professional players. 

That’s not all either. Teams will be completely randomised after each round, with the attending pros being seeded in each of the teams throughout of the day. Players personal stats will be recorded, with the personal best nabbing an all expenses paid trip to any single Red Bull LAN event in 2015.

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Valve squashes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive bird surfing bug; community is sad

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Valve squashes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive bird surfing bug; community is sad

When Valve “rebuilt" their classic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map Train, they did so with an unintended, but hilarious bug: bird surfing. Players quickly discovered that if they hopped on top of a group of innocent bystanding birds, they could use their flight to “surf" above the map. Things got out of hand when players furthered the exploit to get to the rooftops directly above bombsite A, giving them an unfair advantage.

But don’t worry, Valve have already flown in a hotfix to remove the bug, but not without leaving a subtle nod to its existence in its place.

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Steam Holiday Auction: bid on 200k free games with recycled badges and inventory items

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Steam Holiday Auction: bid on 200k free games with recycled badges and inventory items

Valve appear to have opened a new game-recycling service ahead of the rumoured Steam Winter Sale. Not only can users purchase games, earn Steam trading cards through play and turn them into badges, backgrounds and emoticons - they can now break down those Steam Community items into gems and use the twinkly currency to bid on different games at auction.

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Valve have "rebuilt" classic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map Train

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Valve have "rebuilt" classic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map Train

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive started the year with record numbers and expanding community prize pools, and has trundled on ever since to become a firm fixture of Steam’s upper-most-played list.

Some classic CS maps have aged in the meantime - but luckily, the track’s turned out to be one of those oval playset ones and we’ve come back around to Train. Valve have rebuild the memorable map to ensure it remains pretty and competitive in one of the best first-person shooters on PC.

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Team Fortress 2 bolstered by body warmers and bathing equipment in End of the Line

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Team Fortress 2 bolstered by body warmers and bathing equipment in End of the Line

Even before Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 item makers starting earning an average of $15,000 each, the shooter community was getting organised. Last year, TF2 item creators marshalled a team and, with the backing of Valve, released the Robotic Boogaloo update to “huge success".

The Boogaloo was a test, to see if the TF2 community could follow through on an ambitious project with deadlines - and they passed. Hence today’s End of the Line release - a bundle of community cosmetics, taunts and tools, built and deployed by the most able fans on the Steam Workshop.

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Bioshock Infinite is heading to Linux; scheduled for early 2015

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Bioshock Infinite is heading to Linux; scheduled for early 2015

2K Games have officially announced that their much loved Bioshock Infinite will be available on Linux early next year. The first hints were picked up by a redditor, who saw new string updates to the game make multiple references to the Linux platform.

Shortly after, this was confirmed by a tweet from the publisher themselves. “More details coming after the New Year." said 2K.

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Dota 2's Frostivus event is cancelled, again; team to instead work on engine update

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Dota 2's Frostivus event is cancelled, again; team to instead work on engine update

For the third year in a row, Dota 2’s Frostivus festival has been canceled. But unlike the previous two, it won’t be replaced by another e.g. The Greevling, Wraith Night. Valve’s Dota 2 team have made a statement on the matter, and their excuse is rather exciting.

Valve are planning an engine update to Dota 2 in the first half of next year, and committing resources to a winter themed game mode would sap too much manpower from this exciting addition. But rejoice, as Valve have assured that this doesn’t mean we won’t see feature filled patched in the near future.

“We are already hard at work on our next major update," said Valve. “Although we will continue to avoid building new game modes until the engine improvements come along."

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Team Fortress 2 Tomb Raider item contest (inevitably) puts the Heavy in short shorts

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Team Fortress 2 Tomb Raider item contest (inevitably) puts the Heavy in short shorts

Last month, Valve announced their Team Fortress 2 Tomb Raider contest for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris - the first occasion on which tie-in items had been thrown open to the Workshop community to design.

At the time, Valve told potential creators that the only thing they didn’t want to see was the Heavy in short shorts. Many, many short short designs later, they’ve picked the best - alongside two other winners and three runners-up.

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Steam is looking twitchy: the broadcasting beta starts today

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Steam is looking twitchy: the broadcasting beta starts today

Valve continues its march towards making Steam as social as possible today, while probably hoping to take a chunk or two out of Twitch. If you jump into a game on Steam, you’ll be able to start broadcasting your in-game shenanigans, with commentary, of course. 

You can check it out now, but you’ll need to opt into the Steam beta client first. 

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Fnatic part ways with their Dota 2 team; on the search for a new roster

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Fnatic part ways with their Dota 2 team; on the search for a new roster

Fnatic have today announced that they will disband their current Dota 2 team, signaled with a farewell to their last member, Kai "H4nn1" Hanbueckers. Although this will mean that the company will be without a team for Dota 2, Sahil Deva, manager of Fnatic’s Dota 2 team, has reassured fans that they are hard at work finding another roster.

“Our Dota 2 squad is now and has always been one of Fnatic’s top priorities" said Deva.

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Team LDLC overcome exploits to win Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals at DreamHack

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Team LDLC overcome exploits to win Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals at DreamHack

The Counter-Strike wing of French pro-gaming force Team LDLC claimed the top spot in the 2014 DreamHack CS:GO Championship this weekend - and with it, $100,000 of the tournament’s $250,000 community-funded prize pool.

It’s a surprising result - not because LDLC aren’t capable, but because they were briefly knocked out of the championship a day earlier.

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Steam Gifts rules have been changed to protect you from swindlers

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Steam Gifts rules have been changed to protect you from swindlers

Steam Gifts is a perfectly lovely way to trade with other Steam users, until it goes horribly wrong. A situation that’s been under scrutiny from Valve lately is where you make a trade for a game, only to have that game revoked from your library because the person you traded with has had their payment declined for the game. For shady types on this internet, this kind of action can lead to profit. But Valve are on the case and have changed the rulebook. 

From now on, games in your inventory that have been set aside for trading can only be traded 30 days after purchase.

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Team Fortress 2 update brings tweaks to pl_upward, improves client stability

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Team Fortress 2 update brings tweaks to pl_upward, improves client stability

Did you know? On the consoles, there’s a carbonite version of Team Fortress 2 that plays exactly the same way now as it did in 2007. Imagine that. Over here, it’s been onwards and upwards for the past seven years - a cycle of perpetual improvement for one of the best first-person shooters on PC.

It’s been four years since the Engineer Update that introduced Upward as a Payload map, for instance - but Valve are still trimming and weeding, and bettering the performance of the game overall.

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Strap in: the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale has officially launched; here's all the best offers

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