Before CS:GO, many moons ago, back in 1999, the original Counter-Strike was created as a mod for the ever popular Half-Life game. The first-person shooter mod based on team play grew in popularity, and only a year later Valve acquired the intellectual properties and the two creators and released it themselves individually.
That seems all distant history with the latest installment now, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (released in 2014), CS:GO, causing havoc on the eSports stage and still gaining more popularity by the day.
So what is CS:GO like? For most players who have not turned professional, it can be a largely different experience. CS:GO has a simple primary structure- two teams (terrorists and counter terrorists) go guns blazing at each other until a victor is proclaimed. However, the different modes in the game alter this in the following ways:
- CS:GO Casual – The so-called “relaxed” mode. It gives the players a taste of what competitive play is like, pitting one team against the other, but with quite a few things taken removed, such as no need to buy armour, and no friendly fire. Players can freely jump in and out of this mode, which is what mainly makes it more relaxing.
- CS:GO Arms Race – A pretty fun mode that lets the player get used to a wide range of guns. You Global Elite Cprogress to different weapons as you gain more kills, and they can get very tricky. They range from automatic rifles to SMG’s, sniper rifles, and to finish it all, a golden knife. The first kill with the golden knife declares the winner.
- CS:GO Demolition – Focusing on the more serious side, the objective is to plant the bomb (or to defuse it) to win the round. If you die, you must wait until the next round until you spawn back in. Teamwork is pretty essential here, but Rambo rogues often take over with the aim of killing everyone before the bomb scenario even comes into question.
- CS:GO Deathmatch – The only goal is to kill everyone on the opposing team. Use whichever gun you want, go any path you want, and pay no attention to your team-mates. In fact, best use them as bait, or human bullet shields to save yourself. You respawn as soon as you die, so the action is continuous. That also means be prepared to get shot in the back as soon as you spawn, and thus flip the desk in rage.
And then, of course, there is Competitive matchmaking… The mode that either puts fear or excitement into CS:GO players worldwide. Competitive CS:GO is just like the original Counter-Strike – two teams go head to head, with the main aim of either eliminating your opponents or planting/defusing the bomb. Is CS:GO hardcore mode, the first team to get win 16 rounds wins the game.
It can take up to an hour to complete, and exiting CS:GO mid-game is frowned-upon. The focus lies heavily on teamwork – lack of team communications often leads to being picked off easy by the opposing time. However, every now and again a rogue player with the bravery and skill-set of Thor takes over the whole CS:GO game and ignores the fact that there is no I in TEAM.
The real question is what is Competitive CS:GO really like? Well, the only conclusive answer is ‘it depends’. It can differ greatly based on your experience and skill-set, as well as the teammates you are blessed (or stuck) with.
Some CS:GO games can finish within 20mins with a score of 16-2, while others can take over an hour where the victor might be decided by a single round. One thing is sure – jumping from other CS:GO modes to competitive can feel like upgrading from a bicycle to a Bugatti Veyron.
There are usually two main scenarios that can happen in this CS:GO mode. The first is where most players in the game appear to be taking it easy, and there is not much pressure. It resembles the casual mode quite a bit, as the players don’t really seem to be concerned with who will win, and whether they will get ranked up or down based on their performance.
However, the other side of the CS:GO coin can be very different indeed. It consists of ‘sweaters’ or ‘try-hards’ – individuals that will sell their own grandmother if it means they will win. They take the game very seriously, and even though this can make it appear very exciting and competitive, it can also be very toxic.
CS:GO can sometimes have a reputation for being toxic – players verbally abusing others when something doesn’t go right during a round. In all honesty, most abuse seems to be originating from teen or pre-teen players, so it should be taken a bit lighter than most people tend to.
So how does anyone even enjoy playing competitive CS:GO? A good balance of the two scenarios above is needed. The game features a complicated economy system (earning money each round for various things that you spend on buying weapons, armour and equipment each round) and it is much easier to navigate through it with the help of your CS:GO team-mates.
Losing a few rounds in a row will require an ‘eco round’ – saving money for the following round by buying the bare minimum in the current round and try to make the most of it before getting wiped out by a most likely fully armed enemy team.
Without communicating with your CS:GO teammates, this can be impossible to do, or done at the wrong time, which means you might have no money for even more rounds. That is precisely how games ends early, as going eco with handguns means rarely outperforming AK47’s and M4A1’s more than once.
All in all, taking CS:GO seriously enough with your teammates to have fun in a competitive manner can be very enjoyable, just don’t take it too seriously and turn into a raging 12-year-old hyped up on too many energy drinks. Let the odds of getting a headshot be ever in your favour.
Written by Filip Djordjevic (CS:GO Correspondent)
As a footnote we are not absolutely certain whether we should be noting the name of the game is CS:GO or CS: GO, notice the space? Does it matter? Now that’s another question because to some people it matters a great deal.
CS:GO or CS: GO which camp are you in?