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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike Global Offensive logo.png
Developer(s)
Publisher(s) Valve Corporation
Composer(s) Mike Morasky
Series Counter-Strike
Engine Source
Platform(s)
Release
  • WW: August 21, 2012
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation. It is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, and was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in August 2012, with the Linux version being released in September 2014. Cross-platform multiplayer was planned between Windows, OS X, Linux, and PlayStation 3 players, but was ultimately limited to the computer versions because of the difference in update frequency between systems.

The game pits two teams against each other: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Both sides are tasked with eliminating the other while also completing separate objectives, the Terrorists, depending on the game mode, must either plant the bomb or defend the hostages, while the Counter-Terrorists must either prevent the bomb from being planted or rescue the hostages. There are six game modes, all of which have distinct characteristics specific to that mode. Global Offensive has matchmaking support that allows players to play on dedicated Valve servers, as well as allowing members of the community to host their own servers with custom maps and game modes. Global Offensive has a competitive scene, with Valve-sponsored tournaments known as the "Majors" being the premier competitive event for the game.

Global Offensive received positive reviews from critics. The game was praised for its overall gameplay and faithfulness to the previous iterations in the series. Some of the early features were criticized, and while the console versions received positive reviews, reviewers believed there were obvious differences between the console and PC versions of the game.

Gameplay

Global Offensive, like prior games in the Counter-Strike series, is an objective-based, multiplayer first-person shooter. Two opposing teams—the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists—compete in game modes to complete objectives, such as securing a location to plant or defuse a bomb and rescuing or guarding hostages.[1][2] At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their individual performance with in-game currency to spend on more powerful weapons in subsequent rounds. Winning rounds results in more money than losing, and completing objectives such as killing enemy players gives cash bonuses.[1] Uncooperative actions, such as killing teammates, results in a penalty.[3]

An in-progress match in which the player using an AK-47

There are six main game modes: Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Demolition, and Weapons Course.[4] Competitive mode pits competitive players against each other in two teams of five and roughly 45-minute matches.[5] The Casual and Deathmatch modes are less serious than the Competitive modes, and do not register friendly fire against or collision with other players on the player's team. Both are primarily used for player practice.[6][7] Arms Race mode is similar to the "Gun Game" mod for other games in the series. It consists of players racing to upgrade their guns via killing enemies.[1] Demolition mode is again like the "Gun Game" mod though players are able to plant and defuse the bomb too, and only receive a gun upgrade at the end of the round if they killed an enemy.[1] The Weapons Course is an offline practice mode designed to help new players learn how to use the basic items, such as grenades and guns. Apart from the Weapons Course, all five other game modes can be played online or offline.[4]

Matchmaking is supported for all online game modes and is managed through the Steam software,[8] and runs Valve Anti-Cheat to prevent cheating.[9] In the competitive modes, players are encouraged to act more strategically in Global Offensive than in most other multiplayer games due to the inability to respawn once killed.[10] When playing competitively, each player has a specific rank based on their skill level and is paired up with players of around the same skill level.[1] Another form of matchmaking, known as "Prime", is available to players who have connected a phone number to their accounts, which only allows for competitive play between Prime members.[11] The PC version of Global Offensive supports private dedicated servers that players may connect to through the community server menu in-game. These servers may be heavily modified and in turn, can be completely different from the base game modes. There have been many community made mods for the game, one of the more popular ones being known as "kz", a mod which allows players to complete obstacle courses that require advanced strafing and jumping techniques.[12]

Global Offensive saw the introduction of new weapons and equipment not seen in previous installments, most notably the firebomb for each side (referred to as a Molotov on the Terrorist side and as an Incendiary Grenade on the Counter-Terrorist side). These temporarily cover a small area in fire, dealing damage to anyone passing through. Global Offensive also saw the introduction of a range of new guns, including shotguns, pistols and sub-machine guns, along with a taser. Two new game modes, Arms Race and Demolition, both based on mods for previous iterations in the series, were added alongside a total of eight new maps for said game modes.[1]

Development and release

External video
Counter-Strike: A Brief History, a YouTube video published by Valve Corporation on January 23, 2017

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the sequel to the popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Source, developed by Valve Corporation. Global Offensive's development began when Hidden Path Entertainment attempted to port Counter-Strike: Source onto video game consoles, prior to the end of their lifespan.[13][14] During the development, Valve saw the opportunity to turn the port into a full game and expand on the predecessor's gameplay. Global Offensive began development in March 2010, and was revealed to the public on August 12, 2011.[15] The closed beta started on November 30, 2011, and was initially restricted to around ten thousand people who attended received a key at events intended to showcase Global Offensive. After issues such as client and server stability were addressed, the beta was opened up to progressively more people,[16] and at E3 2012, Valve announced that Global Offensive would be released on August 21, 2012, with the open beta starting roughly a month before that.[16] Before the public beta, Valve invited professional Counter-Strike players to play-test the game and give feedback.[17] On April 21, 2016, Prime matchmaking was added to the game. To partake in this mode, the user had to have a phone number connected to their account, and verified. It was introduced in an attempt to prevent legitimate players from playing with cheaters or high-skilled players playing on alternative, lower ranked accounts, a practice colloquially known as "smurfing".[11]

There were plans for cross-platform multiplayer between Windows, OS X, Linux, and PlayStation 3 players, but was ultimately limited to include only the PC versions because of the difference in update frequency between the systems.[18] On August 21, 2012, the official version was released on all platforms besides Linux,[19] which would not be released until September 23.[20]

Post-release

Since the official release of Global Offensive, Valve has continued to update the game in multiple ways, including introducing new maps and weapons, and releasing balancing changes. One of the major additions to the game post-release was the "Arms Deal" update. Released on August 13, 2013, it added cosmetic weapon finishes, dubbed as skins. These items were then obtainable by unboxing cases using in-game keys, of which were only accessible through in-game microtransactions.[21] They can also be obtained in similar ways to the items in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 in the sense that they are dropped randomly.[13] Global Offensive has Steam Workshop support, allowing users to upload user-created content, such as maps, weapon finishes and custom gameplay scenarios. Popular skins are added to the game and are obtainable by unboxing them from in-game cases.[22] The creators of the skins are paid when their item is added to a case.[23]

Events called "Operations" are held occasionally and are purchasable expansion packs in the form of "operation passes." These passes grant access to operation objectives which are spread over different game modes, such as Arms Race and Deathmatch,[24] or in operation-specific game modes, first seen in Operation Hydra, released in May 2017.[25] Completing these challenges rewards the player with XP and the ability to upgrade the operation "coin." The maps in the operations are community made, meaning some of the revenue made goes towards the map designers.[24][26]

An update in October 2014 added "music kits", which replace the default in-game music with music from soundtrack artists commissioned by Valve. If a player with a music kit equipped becomes the round's most valuable player, their music will play for others at the end of the round. There is a feature that allows kits to be borrowed, and kits can be sold and exchanged through the Community Market.[27] In late November 2016, glove skins were added."[28]

Promotions

The SteelSeries Rival 300 Fade, a promotional item for CS:GO

Since the game's release, Global Offensive influenced accessories have been released. An official store is available and sells collectible products, including a real-life version of the "Five Year Veteran Coin".[29] Companies such as SteelSeries have partnered with Valve to promote real life peripherals, including headsets, mice and mouse pads.[30]

Gambling and third-party betting

The introduction of the Arms Deal update in August 2013 added cosmetic items, termed "skins", into the game. Skins would have a rarity and other high-value factors that influenced their desirability, and these soon became used as virtual currency and the creation of a number of skin trading sites enabled by the Steamworks API. Some of these sites began to offer gambling functionality, allowing users to bet on the outcome of professional matches with skins. In June and July 2016, two formal lawsuits have been filed against these gambling sites and Valve, stating that these encourage underage gambling and undisclosed promotion by some streamers. Valve in turn began to take steps to prevent these sites from using Steamworks for gambling purposes, and several of these sites shut down as a result.[21]

Professional competition

Luminosity Gaming competes against Natus Vincere at the MLG Columbus 2016 major
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors
Most recent season or competition:
PGL 2017 Kraków Major Championship
Founded 2013
No. of teams 16
Continents Global
Most recent
champion(s)
Gambit Esports (Dosia, AdreN, mou, Zeus, HObbit)
Most titles Fnatic (3)
Classification Qualifying tournaments
TV partner(s) Twitch.tv, ESL, MLG.tv, TBS

The Global Offensive professional scene consists of both third-party organisation hosted tournaments, and Valve organised or co-sponsored tournaments, referred to as majors. Majors are notable in that they have larger prize pools.[31] Originally restricted to $250,000, the prize pools for majors have risen, with the first $1,000,000 pool being present at the MLG Columbus 2016.[31] As the game and the scene has grown in popularity, companies, including WME/IMG and Turner Broadcasting began to televise Global Offensive professional games, with the first being ELEAGUE Major 2017, held in the Fox Theatre and broadcast on US cable television network TBS in 2016.[32]

In 2014, the "first large match fixing scandal"[33] in the Global Offensive community took place, where team iBuyPower threw a match against NetCodeGuides.com. The team was later banned by Valve, though ESL unbanned the team from their tournaments in 2017.[34] They are still unable to play in Majors.[35]

On October 2, 2015, a number of professional eSports organization with Counter-Strike teams announced the formation of a trade union that set several demands for future tournament attendance. The announcement was a publicly posted email written by Natus Vincere CEO Alexander Kokhanovsky that was sent to organizers of major esports events. Among these demands was notice that teams part of the union would not attend a tournament with a prize pool of less than $75,000 for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and $100,000 for Dota 2. Among the teams that were announced were Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, Cloud9, Virtus.pro, Team SoloMid, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Titan, and Team EnVyUs.[36] In 2016, the World eSports Association (WESA) was founded by ESL and many eSports teams, including Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Team EnVyUs, and FaZe Clan,[37] though the latter-most left soon after its formation.[38] In the announcement statement, WESA said they would "further professionalize eSports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue sharing for teams". Alongside this, they also plan to help the fans and organizers by "seeking to create predictable schedules".[37]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 83/100 (PC)[39]
79/100 (X360)[40]
80/100 (PS3)[41]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9.5/10 (PC)[1]
Eurogamer 9/10 (PC)[45]
GameSpot 8.5 (PC, PS3, X360)[46]
GameSpy 4/5 stars (PC)[44]
IGN 8/10 (PC)[42]
PC Gamer (US) 84/100 (PC)[43]

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive received generally positive reviews from critics across all three platforms, according toMetacritic, a review aggregator site.[39][40][41] Since the game's release, Global Offensive has been steadily at the top of the Steam charts in terms of most concurrent players.[47][48] The game won the fan's choice "eSports Game of the Year" award at The Game Awards 2015.[49]

Reviewers praised Global Offensive's faithfulness to the previous game, Counter-Strike: Source, with Allistair Pinsof of Destructoid rating the game very highly and saying that Global Offensive is a "polished and better looking" version of the game.[1] GameSpot writer Eric Neigher said in their review that this game stays true to its predecessors by adding lots of content, but tweaking small amounts and retaining their best features.[50] The reviewers at gamesTM wrote in their review that the game stood "as a glowing reminder that quality game design is rewarded in longevity and variety."[10] They also continued onto congratulate Valve that they had not only updated the popular game, but "had completely outclassed its contemporaries."[10] Martin Gaston of Videogamer.com wrote that although he was too old to truly enjoy the game, he believed that it was a "fine installment of one of the best games ever made," and that some people will experience "what will become the definitive moments of their gaming lives."[51] Xav de Matos for Engadget wrote that for the price, "Global Offensive is a great extension to that legacy."[6] Mitch Dyer from IGN said that "Global Offensive is definitely a Counter-Strike sequel – it looks and feels familiar, with minor tweaks here and there to help balance old issues and surprise longtime players."[42]

Some of the features in the early releases of the game were criticized by reviewers. GameSpy's Mike Sharkey did not believe that the new content added was good, pointing out that the game provides very little in the way of new content; and that the Elo rating system seems ineffective, having many players of various skill levels all playing at once throughout the early days of release.[44] Evan Lahti from PC Gamer noted that the majority of new official maps in Global Offensive were only for Arms Race or Demolition game modes; while Classic maps were only given "smart adjustments" to minor details.[43] Pinsof thought that in its release state, it would not be the final version of the game to be released.[1] Paul Goodman said that long-time fans of the series, Global Offensive will start to show the game's age, saying that he "couldn't help but feel that I had been there and done that a dozen times before."[52]

Although reviewers liked the console versions of the game, they believed there were obvious differences between the PC and console versions. Neigher believed that due playing with thumbsticks and shoulder buttons "you definitely won't be getting the ultimate CS:GO experience."[50] Ron Vorstermans for Gamer.nl said that the PC version is there to play at a higher competitive level, though he went on to say that the console versions are not inferior because of the PC's superiority for competition.[53] Dyer wrote that the PlayStation 3 version was at an advantage to the Xbox version because of the ability to connect a keyboard and mouse to the system. He continued on to say that the user-interface on both of the consoles was as good as the PC one.[42] Mark Langshaw of Digital Spy thought that although the game supports PlayStation Move, using it "only makes an already unforgiving game all the more challenging."[54]

References

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External links