Hi, and welcome to the ValveTime News for June 16th 2015. Each week, we bring you the biggest talking points regarding Valve and the community. Those who joined us last week will remember us talking about Valve delivering on a bunch of long-running wishes, which means you’ll also remember one in particular that they didn’t quite get around to. That all changed this Friday, however, as Valve finally revealed the Source 2 version of Dota 2 in a new update dubbed “Dota 2 Reborn.” The update will initially launch late next week in an open beta on a separate client, leaving regular Dota 2 as it is for the time being. With a new engine comes new capabilities and functionality, and the Reborn Beta definitely does not disappoint. The first of three announcements focuses on the full overhaul of Dota 2’s user interface, including a new responsive dashboard which offers new options for finding games and partying up with friends such as voice chat, an activity feed, improved party management tools, new chat functionality, and a “Beacon” system to let people know you’re looking to party up. Elsewhere, powerful new statistical tracking features are also being implemented, making it easy to check out how good you and your friends are at certain heroes and in certain roles. This is far from all, however, as a completely redesigned user interface also means new ways to check out heroes and to learn about their specialities, abilities, and cosmetic items quickly and simply.
A new “Demo Hero” feature has also been added to make it easier to try out characters you may want to play, which will place a selected hero in a custom map with a single lane and extensive tools for levelling up, using spells free of cooldowns and mana costs, and spawning enemies or items. One of our favorite new features of the redesigned interface appears in the form of the Watch tab, which now offers real-time map data and statistics for live, in-progress games even when you’re not spectating the game. Should you want, you can then check out the game via a number of options included on the menu, such as an Inline stream running the match within the menu, an official livestream via Twitch integration and Steam Broadcasting, or the usual In-Game spectator mode, which has also been overhauled. Other areas of the Watch tab will also make it easier than ever to keep track of the action via in-game tournament brackets, improved match listings, and the all-new ability to share Replays with friends without ever having to leave the game client. For those looking to learn Dota 2 or improve their play, the game’s tutorial systems are also getting a major overhaul, including making it easier to get into a game with bots of varying difficulties and by offering new lessons with helpful pop-ups and alerts offering players guidance when necessary. There is an absolutely insane amount to learn about the Dota 2 Reborn Beta, and it’s safe to say Valve aren’t playing all their cards quite yet, with an updated in-game HUD still to be revealed in the coming weeks or months.
If you’re done soaking all that information up, then buckle up, as this was only Part 1, with Valve promising the next two parts, set to release throughout next week, will focus on the implementation and accessibility of Custom Games before they conclude with “various details about the new engine” as they launch the open beta likely on next Thursday or Friday. While the title of “Source 2” isn’t officially mentioned at any point on the Part 1 page, Part 3 is likely when we’ll get the juiciest information about the future of Valve’s engine technology. Given both parts will be released mid-week, be sure to stay tuned to the ValveTime website and our social media pages to learn more about the future of Dota 2 and Source 2 the very second we know more.
Speaking of Dota 2, it’s also worth noting that the prize pool for The International 2015 surpassed $13M this past week, and that it will likely hit $14M sometime early this coming week if it hasn’t by the time this video is released. This milestone has unlocked the Bristleback Announcer Set, meaning Announcer and Mega-Kills Packs featuring the voice of Bristleback voice actor TJ Ramini will soon be released, likely alongside or after the third Immortal Treasure, the Desert Terrain map, and the TI5 Music Pack, all of which have been unlocked over the past few weeks. As we mentioned on last week’s show, the annual Steam Summer Sale arrived early this year following the release of the 10 “Mystery” cards a short while back. This year’s sale, dubbed the “Monster Summer Sale,” will take place from June 11th through June 21st 2015 and offers the same 24 hour Daily Deals as ever, alongside slightly extended Flash Sales which now last for 12 hours rather than the usual 8. While it’s worth pointing out both of these categories now boast 15 games at a time, we’re all very well acquainted with Steam Sales at this point, so what’s this year’s special gimmick? Well, this year’s event is largely focused on the titular “Monster Summer Game,” an in-browser click-game akin to Cookie Clicker which has Steam users work together to defeat innumerable hordes of monsters while using upgrades to improve their output and abilities to temporarily buff themselves and their allies. Like other clicking games, players can play actively for as long as they want, but are also encouraged to leave the game running in the background while an autofire cannon slowly takes care of baddies on their behalf.
Participating in the game will help Steam users accumulate the aforementioned Monster Summer Sale Cards while completing large-scale objectives as part of the wider community will gradually unlock an extra layer of up to 9 Steam games, which will be put on sale the following day. There are a lot more intricacies regarding the Monster Summer Sale that we’re not going to explore any further here, but we do highly recommend you check out what is essentially Valve’s latest title, for no reason other than to keep your eyes peeled for the many easter eggs quietly snuck in as Monsters, including Headcrabs, possibly zombified version of Pudge, and various names including “Chell” and “The Pinkerton.” Speaking of Pinkerton, we’ll be returning to Jay a little later in the episode... Earlier in the week, the Steam Client Beta received a rather interesting update clearly designed to get Big Picture Mode up to scratch ahead of the feature’s primetime showing as part of SteamOS this Autumn alongside the release of the Steam Machines. The update largely focused on the introduction of Game Hubs and the Steam Marketplace, both of which stand as substantial and important Steam Community features missing from Big Picture Mode for far too long.
All of these features function largely identically to their Desktop counterparts, only with a different user interface akin to the rest of Big Picture Mode, allowing each of them to be viewed easily using a controller. If you’re already participating in the Steam Client Beta, why not activate Big Picture Mode now to check out the new features for yourself? Well, after you’ve finished this video, of course. With so much going on with Steam, it’s no real surprise that the platform’s Concurrent User record surpassed 10M for the first time this past Sunday. With over 125M active user accounts, this was bound to happen given Steam Sales are almost always the events which cause these kinds of records to be smashed. As usual, the Steam Summer Sale was recently joined by its not-too-distant cousin, the Mann Co. Summer Sale. The Mann Co.
Summer Sale features a large number of discounts on various items throughout Team Fortress 2’s Mann Co. Store, including hats, weapons, tools, and other cosmetics of all kinds. The game update which applied this year’s sale to TF2 also added a bunch of neat improvements for the Map Workshop introduced last week.
These include allowing Workshop map names to be used within changelevel commands, permitting “fuzzy” name matching when using these commands, and improvements to the somewhat outdated in-game importing tool. Although the update lacks gameplay improvements of any kind, the changelog is still worth checking out if you’re interested in Team Fortress 2, so be sure to head on over via a link in the video description. Alternatively, you could always head on over to the official Twitter account of Jay Pinkerton, one of Valve’s writers responsible for much of the dialogue and narrative beats from Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2, including the comics for both games. Earlier this week, Pinkerton broke from Valve tradition by revealing something seemingly on his own terms, providing a sneak peak at Issue #5 of the still-ongoing Team Fortress 2 comic series.
Just a quick warning: Look away now if you have yet to reach the conclusion of Issue #4, released last October, as we’re going to be discussing a pretty big spoiler. Jay’s Twitter post reveals the team are in fact still working on the series despite a hiatus of... oh..
about 9 months. An included image shows the RED Medic, previously revealed as a traitor, standing over a clearly unconscious Sniper, who was badly wounded by his Team Fortress Classic counterpart in the previous issue. It’s not entirely clear what has taken place before this scene to get the Medic back on RED team’s side, but it’s not looking too good for Sniper given the Medigun generally used to keep people alive during surgery is currently switched off. With that said, we’re eager to see the full comic and to find out whether or not Sniper will be the first of the nine classes to canonically die, but, if he is to go, we’re willing to bet he won’t be the only one of the cast to kick the bucket.
As always, we’ll post about the release of the comic on our social media pages as soon as it’ is released, so make sure you’re following our Twitter and Facebook accounts if you’re not already. Over on the CS:GO side of things: this past week’s update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive marked the conclusion of the game’s Overwatch beta. No, not that Overwatch. We’re of course talking about the Overwatch anti-cheat system implemented to help the CS:GO community have a direct impact on the discovery, judgement, and resolution of potential hacks. The system has been in beta for... well, far too long, but it’s nice to see it finally officially released, especially considering it was also recently updated to award players with XP for their Profile Level should they provide accurate verdicts, hopefully promoting future use. The system has also been updated to take XP from players if they are found to have been playing alongside a cheater or a hacker, which should help push players to rat out their no-good teammates. New changes introduced elsewhere in the update include the additional of new ladder footstep sounds – because sure, why not – the implementation of three new player commendations to the in-game scoreboard, and a new Profile Level restriction of Competitive Matchmaking, which now requires players to be Rank 3 before they can play.
Following the release of Portal Pinball a few weeks back, we decided to take a closer look at the downloadable content for Pinball FX2 and make a pretty short review to round-up our thoughts. If you’ve already had a chance to play Portal Pinball for yourself, why not share your thoughts in the comments below, good or bad! As our first review in 9 months, we’d really appreciate it if you could head on over and check it out via the annotation link currently on-screen, or the one about to appear after I say... And that’ll do it for another week of Valve news. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel; to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and TwitchTV; to check out our previous content; and to join the conversations over on the ValveTime.net community forums. Thanks for watching and bye for now.