Rainbow Six Siege has them. Overwatch has them. Apex Legends has them. Now, Counter-Strike, the competitive shooter with maybe the least detailed lore or personality, has characters. Honest-to-gosh characters with unique looks, voice lines, and ‘tude. These Master Agents come with the latest update to the hoary shooter, and the inject a little chutzpah into the proceedings once you unlock them through whatever operation coin upgrading shenanigans are afoot. There’s Two Times, Buckshot, Commander Ricksaw, Osiris, Agent Ava, Maximus, Blackwolf, and other appropriately hooh-rah sounding nicknames. Imagine how envious everyone will be when they’re using plain old T’s or CT’s and you’ve got some guy called “The Doctor” sporting a faux-hawk.
There’s a new Dust 2 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Valve has upgraded and overhauled the mainstay map of Counter-Strike players once again. Beyond a spiffy coat of paint, Valve has made changes to the map geometry to improve readability and smooth out any rough areas to refine movement. For example, bombsite B’s car prop has been moved slightly towards the center of the courtyard to provide more cover and open up the corner, a hole in the wall has been shifted and widened, and telephone poles have been done away with entirely.
Counter-Strike vets are discovering all sorts of changes, good and bad, in the new map. Some long-cherished grenade throwing spots have been negated with blockages. Sight lines have been adjusted. Some passageways have been tightened. It’s stuff that a newbie might not put much importance on, but to folks that literally make their living by playing the game, the differences can be extremely challenging.
Some prominent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players were accused of posting deceptive videos related to a site they apparently own on which people can wager cosmetic CS:GO skins. These personalities claimed to have found this site that lets them put up their CS:GO weapon skins against others and win easy money since some of the skins are potentially worth hundreds of real dollars. Unfortunately, the videos failed to disclose that it wasn’t so much that the hosts “found” the site, but actually “founded” it. They were registered as co-owners since the company’s inception. In the wake of the scandal, another popular YouTube CS:GO player made a troubling confession admitting to showing rigged bets in his CS:GO skin wagering videos for another similar site. Ugly all around.
While these specific incidents may break various truth-in-advertising laws, and raise questions about the legitimacy of the supposedly random payouts, they also highlight an issue that has been growing since Team Fortress 2 started the cosmetic skin craze. Steam has become a catalyst for underage gambling. Because these in-game cosmetic skins don’t have a fixed monetary price, the in-game random distribution of them through loot drops or boxes defy conventional gambling laws. At the same time, the rarer skins hold high value and can be traded for Steam items (including other skins) that do have cash worth. Thus you end up with lucrative businesses like the CS:GO betting sites that encourage gambling for kids as young as thirteen.
While Valve doesn’t directly participate in this grey industry, a pending lawsuit accuses the company of turning a blind eye to the business and facilitating the corruption of minors by allowing these third-party sites to use Steam’s data. The suit further alleges that Valve benefits from the betting by gaining a percentage of the skin value traded during each transaction.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is launching Operation Vanguard today. With the standard pass that gives players the option to play on ranked servers and exclusive cosmetic loot drops, players will be able to access the new campaign. Don’t get too excited about the idea of a story mode. You won’t be pressing F to pay respects or anything dramatic. The campaign feature is based on stringing together maps as “missions” that will reward players for completion with loot drops. Nothing is better than the story in your head anyway. “Fire from the hip! Fire from the hip! Shoot that chicken!”
Operation Vanguard is available now for $5.99 on Steam.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was one of the featured deals yesterday in the Steam Summer Sale. It’s still 50% off today. The common wisdom is that price drops on multiplayer games is a good thing. You gain more players, the community grows, and (hopefully) positive word of mouth will be generated by all the newbies having fun. It should be good news for Valve too, right? More players mean more weapon skin drops that will be sold in the marketplace generating trade revenue. So why is it that hardcore players don’t welcome the sale? Cheating is big business. That’s why.
PC Gamer explains that the Summer Sale pricing invites hackers and griefers to snap up multiple copies of the game, assign them to “smurf” accounts, and wreak havoc with the community. These people create new Steam accounts with just the one game, so banning results in a loss of only that title. Since CS:GO’s cheat reporting depends on other players reviewing replays, it’s easy for hackers to dodge justice. Most people will not take the time to report the infractions. They have better things to do than mess with the Overwatch reporting system. The Steam Sale means it’s a hacker’s paradise!
It sounds crazy that players would buy multiple copies of a game just to burn through accounts by cheating, but these are people that subscribe to cheat software. This is how they get their kicks. The next time some guy is shooting you through walls, you may be able to thank the sale for it.
Valve’s hardcore multiplayer shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now even more hardcore thanks to an integrated “GOTV” feature that allows you to check out continuous streams of professional matches. The Watch and Learn update has added a theater which lets players watch their most embarassing defeats and see how real players would’ve done better. Headshot!
“Watch your previous matches to relive your greatest moments, or to see your progress over time and learn from mistakes. Then, jump into an in-progress match and see how the highest ranked CS:GO players approach the game. Not sure which match to watch? Select GOTV Theater and watch a continuous stream of top live matches one after another.”
Most of my matches would be utterly boring to watch. Ninety percent of them would be staring at the weapon menu, stunned with indecision, or trying to read the incidental posters on the walls of the level.