Valve just released the Operation Payback patch for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Besides the usual batch of bug fixes and balance adjustments, Payback adds the ability for players to pay for access to official servers hosting seven of the most popular Workshop maps.
For a limited time, you can buy a pass half-priced for $2.99. That’ll get you unlimited access to a Classic Casual map group featuring seven of the highest-voted Workshop Maps. Invite your friends (even if they don’t have a pass) and enjoy uninterrupted low-ping play on official servers – all while rewarding CS:GO’s top-voted virtual mapmakers with real money. Buying a pass also gets you a one-of-a-kind challenge coin, upgradable by playing and viewable wherever your avatar is shown. “Operation Payback” will be live from now until July 31st.
Players can still download the maps for free through the Workshop and play on community servers using them. Future “Operations” are planned that feature different custom maps.
Team Fortress 2 has added dozens of user-made maps to its offical roster, but map makers have complained that the compensation rate is unfair compared to the thousands of dollars (sometimes hundreds of thousands) that cosmetic item creators have made. TF2 gives players the chance to purchase map stamps that give a portion of their price to the creator for that particular map, but people do not buy them in the same volume as hats because everyone gets the maps for free regardless.
Operation Payback seems to be another attempt by Valve to pay creators for their work while not splitting the player community across separate map packs.