Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CSGO as it is more widely known as has long been one of Valve’s greatest treasures. Continuing off of a generation old game’s mechanics, CSGO was released in 2012, meant to be the latest in the line of multiplayer FPS shooters in the franchise. This edition of the game took off to never before seen heights, & has since cemented itself as having one of the biggest e-sports competitive scenes ever. At least that’s what the glory days of the game had been. Nowadays, the game, according to its own player base, has been dying courtesy of Valve’s lack of support. All this though is finally set to change with Valve’s latest (and greatest) update to the game: CSGO is now free-to-play, and has a battle royale mode!

This all seems like it was being set up from quite some time ago. Rumors of a battle royale mode being developed for the game surface almost a year back, and the did get a free version where players could only play with bots. However, this new update has made the game completely free to play, with a paid upgrade to the “Prime Status Upgrade”, which by the way can be attained through in-game grinding either way. The battle royale mode, known as Danger Zone, is also a new yet similar take on the genre implementing the franchise’s signature gameplay. 

CSGO /Counter Strike Global Offensive | Valve| Steam
CSGO

The update though has not been received kindly by players. Recent steam reviews for the game after the update have been highly negative, and understandably so. The biggest complaint as raised by fans was that this move will encourage more players to cheat. Since the game is free to play, new players can essentially get the game and use hacks, & when banned, just make another account and play from that. And they wouldn’t lose anything given that the game is free. 

While Valve has been hard at work on improving their anti-cheat system, with the inclusion of the Trust Factor last year, they had started taking the necessary steps in order to prevent a situation like mentioned above from happening. But suffice it to say, and we all know, that their efforts haven’t had the biggest effect. 

CSGO is being bombed with negative reviews on Steam
CSGO is being bombed with negative reviews on Steam

Valve has said the following regarding the update:

Introducing Danger Zone — a fast-paced battle royale game mode built on CS:GO’stactical gameplay where players use their wits, skill, and resources to fight to the finish. Play solo, or work together as a squad of two or three!
CS:GO is now FREE TO PLAY
So there’s never been a better time to bring in your friends.
All players who played CS:GO before today’s update will receive a commemorative Loyalty Badge they can display on their profile. You were there from the beginning, so show it off! Additionally, all existing CS:GO players have had their accounts upgraded to Prime Status.
As before, Prime Status matches you with other Prime Status players. Additionally, your Prime Status will give you access to the new Souvenir MP5-SD | Lab Rats (available by earning XP while playing Danger Zone matches) and the all new Danger Zone Case.
Danger Zone Case
The Danger Zone Case features 17 community-designed weapon finishes, and the Horizon knives as rare special items.

Many users have reported that the update has affected the game’s performace in a bad way including framerate drops, server lags and packet losses. Now admittedly some of these issues should have been accounted for considering the jump to free-to-play model would attract a lot of new players.

Counter Strike Global Offensive | CSGO

Now regarding the battle royale mode Danger Zone, it’s actually one of the better-received parts of the new update. Many players have welcomed the nice change of pace in this mode, which utilizes CSGO’s unique gameplay aptly. Plus, it makes Valve look like they’ve been keeping in touch with the larger gaming industry as a whole. 

So, what does this all mean? Why has Valve made this sudden, and critical, decision regarding one of their most best-selling games of all time? Well, according to many of the franchise’s veteran players such as WarOwl, its all part of Valve’s long-term planning. Take a look at their games lineup: DOTA 2 & Team Fortress 2. What’s common between them? That’s right, they’re both free to play. This leads to speculation that making CSGO free to play was always the plan, with all these years being focused on improving VACnet.

CSGO | Counter Strike

At the end of the day, CSGO still has a lot of problems that needs sorting. But if Valve’s efforts pay off, it just might make Counter-Strike better in the long run. 

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