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3 Reasons to Avoid Playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (and What I’m Playing Instead)

Avoid Counter-Strike CS:GO

3 Reasons to Avoid Playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (and What I’m Playing Instead)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is one of the most popular first-person shooters on the market. It’s been around since 2012 when Valve released the Half-Life mod as a standalone game for its Source engine. Since its release, CS:GO has dominated the competitive gaming scene. Despite being over a decade old, it retains an active scene, both casual and competitive.

However, as with any game, there are ups and downsides to playing it. Counter-Strike is, no doubt, an essential pillar of gaming history, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best game to be playing now that we’re a decade out from its release. Even with consistent balance and quality-of-life updates, any game will eventually lag as newer titles continue to see their releases.

While many sing Counter-Strike’s praises, there are also some notable things you should know before diving headfirst into this game. Let’s examine why you might pass on getting into Counter-Strike and what you can play instead.

Many things go into choosing the game for your latest adventure. You’ll want to consider all the factors before making CS:GO your new stomping grounds. Things like the community, ease of access, and difficulty curves can make a game enjoyable for players. Let’s look at some of the notable downsides for new players looking at CS:GO.

1. Toxic Community

counter-strike: global offensive
CS:GO is often cited as one of the most toxic communities in gaming.

One of the primary reasons people might recommend that you steer clear of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the community. CS:GO’s community is often described as being somewhat similar to the League of Legends community, full of flamers — people who will viciously insult and mock anyone in the game, regardless of whether they’re doing well or poorly — and bigots.

Having ten years of League of Legends under my belt, I do know the process of playing in a highly toxic community. You log in, queue up, get called slurs for 45 minutes, finish the game, close the program, then go and lay on your bed and wonder what you’re doing with your life and if everything is really worth it.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches can last anywhere from 21 to 40 minutes. Thus, if you’re stuck in Hell with many toxic players, you may be there for quite some time. 

You might think: “Well, I can just report them, and they’ll get banned, right?” That is a good question with an ultimately unfulfilling answer. CS:GO is a free-to-play game. So, especially in lower-ranked games, there are no punishments for being toxic. Someone only needs ten minutes and an internet connection to get back into the game.

Types of Toxicity in CS:GO

Further, there are two main types of toxicity in CS:GO. There are flamers and cheaters. The distinction isn’t super clear-cut. Some cheaters flame, which means insulting and using offensive language toward other players, and some flamers cheat. However, the common ground between them is that there is virtually no punishment for doing either!

The third type of toxicity can occur inside or outside CS:GO directly: scamming. There are several active types of scams going around the community. If you’re going to play the game, we advise brushing up on the scams you might encounter in or out of the game. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular scamming methods.

2. Wide Variety and Prevalence of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Scams

The wide variety and high prevalence of scammers is another huge reason to avoid CS:GO. If you play enough of the game and collect enough items, you will eventually run into a scammer. You’re even more likely to experience someone trying to scam you if you have friends who play since they could have their accounts hijacked.

Here are the most common types of scams you should know about if you decide to play CS:GO.

Voting Scam

This type of common scam tactic in CS:GO occurs when a stranger messages you, asking you to vote for their team so they can win some kind of prize. They’ll link you to a website where you can supposedly vote for their team.

However, when you click the link, the website will automatically — and typically silently — download a virus to your computer, infecting your system. Once infected, typically, the virus allows the hacker to take over your Steam account or even seize up your whole system. 

If you receive such a message from a friend, kindly inform them through a different method of communication. Receiving these kinds of messages means that your friend’s Steam account has been hacked.

The easiest way to avoid this scam is never to click links on Steam. There are very few people from whom I will accept a link on Steam since the platform is just a little too well-known for being rife with hackers and scammers.

Steam Wallet Scams

These scams are more like the scams of the olden days. Someone promises to send money to your Steam Wallet in exchange for items in your inventory or in-game items and cosmetics. However, remember that you cannot transfer funds from one Steam Wallet to another. So, this one doesn’t even work on a base level of functionality.

However, an alternate version of this scam is where the scammer offers to send you Steam Wallet gift codes in exchange for in-game items. They may even send you a working gift code for a nominal amount to “prove” that they will send you a more significant amount. 

In these situations, they will always ask you to send the items in-game first. Then, they’ll usually just disappear, maybe even block you, once you’ve done so, leaving you with nothing. 

Avoiding these scams is also easy. Never trust people who offer to send you things unless you know them personally, and even then, be wary of people having their accounts hijacked by a hacker. Remember that you can’t receive money in someone else’s Steam Wallet. So, if they’re offering to send money that way, they can’t do it.

PayPal Scam

This scam uses the popular money transfer website PayPal. The scammer will send you money via PayPal before you send them the items. Then, they’ll initiate a chargeback to get their money back. PayPal’s support is typically no help on this one. They have a proven track record of allowing the scam to occur since it doesn’t involve any corporations that can harm their business.

The easiest way to avoid this scam is never to trust random people who want to send you money. It sounds like common sense when you say it out loud, but sometimes, people must remember simple safety tips in the heat of the moment.

Fake Bot Scams

counter-strike: global offensive
Hackers and scammers can get access to your Steam account or steal items from you by impersonating legitimate bot accounts on trading websites.

Another type of scam you may encounter when interacting with the CS:GO community is a scam that utilizes illegitimate accounts on legitimate websites to steal items from you via trading. Typically, what will happen is the scammer will offer to trade you items in your inventory for a CS:GO item.

However, after you trade the items, they will ask you to check the item’s value on a legitimate price aggregator website by putting up a listing for the item. Then, they’ll snipe your listing with a bot that looks like the website’s moderation bot, asking you to trade the items and steal them from you without giving you the promised items.

You can avoid this scam by checking the legitimacy of the bot sending you a trade request. While the bot that the scammer uses to snipe your account will look almost identical to the real bot from the website, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the bot isn’t a part of any community groups. 

Legitimate website bots will be in the website’s community groups, while illegitimate bots can’t be in those groups because they’ll be caught and banned if they try to join.

Fake Gambling Site

This scam is relatively straightforward. The scammer will link you to an illegitimate gambling website that allows you to “gamble” items in-game on eSports games. Once you send the items to the “escrow” for the site, they’re gone forever. 

This one falls into the “don’t trust links from strangers” umbrella. If you want to gamble on eSports, you probably shouldn’t do it on random websites from strange Steam Accounts. There are several legitimate eSports betting websites; don’t trust strangers.

Fake Software Scams

If a stranger asks you to play a tournament with their team, politely decline and definitely don’t download the sketchy “anti-cheat” software they tell you to download. Again, this one falls into the “don’t trust strangers” umbrella. 

Let’s be honest: you are probably not good enough at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to be scouted by a legitimate team. If you were, the scouting process would be much more rigorous than “download this anti-cheat, and we’re good to go.” The software is not legitimate, and you should not download it. Truthfully, you should never download things strangers send you anyway. That’s just good internet safety skills.

This scam type extends into other software types as well. Just use your best judgment, and by “best judgment,” we mean “don’t download things sent to you by strangers.”

Impersonation Scams

These scams fall under the broader umbrella of Steam scams. Someone will impersonate a Valve employee to obtain access to your account. Avoiding them is as simple as following some of the oldest internet safety rules, the ones that companies can’t stop repeating: “Valve employees will not ask for your password.” Additionally, Valve employees will not ask you to trade items or send them money. Remember those rules and block liberally.

Fake Middleman Scams

In this situation, the scammer will ask you to send items to an intermediary who will act as an escrow account for the two of you. However, the middleman account is typically the scammer’s second account or another scammer working in tandem. 

Fake Skin Trading Sites

There are many legitimate skin trading sites. There are also many fake ones. Ensure that you’ve verified the legitimacy of the site before you give them access to your account or items. Otherwise, you may lose your entire account to scammers.

With such a wide variety of scamming methods and a heavy prevalence of scammers in the CS:GO community, picking up the game is a security threat in and of itself at this point. Additionally, since CS:GO is a free-to-play game, there are essentially no punishments for scammers. They can just make a new account and return to scamming people.

3. Difficulty Curve

counter-strike: global offensive
CS:GO has a steep difficulty curve, making it hard for new players to get into the game.

If you want a newbie-friendly game you can pick up and play in minutes, CS:GO is not for you. While CS:GO may seem simple in a world with games with unique complex mechanics, such as VALORANT agent abilities, there is no doubt that CS:GO remains a challenging game to pick up and learn.

The difficulty curve of CS:GO has some unique mechanics players must learn. The most notable of these is spray patterns. Spray patterns are where your bullets fly when you shoot continuously from an automatic weapon.

When a player fires an automatic weapon continuously in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the recoil from the gun causes the bullet spray to move. Each weapon has a different spray pattern. So, you have to learn each weapon’s spray pattern and move the crosshairs as you shoot to compensate for the recoil.

Additionally, CS:GO doesn’t have hit markers — a visual or haptic indicator of whether a shot lands on an enemy. So, not only are new players fighting against the tide of recoil spray patterns, but they also don’t know if their shots are even landing, making it hard to gauge whether your recoil compensation is correct.

How to Find the Spray Pattern of a Weapon in CS:GO

The easiest way to figure out the spray pattern of a CS:GO weapon is to take it into a private match with no other players. Find a wall and unload an entire clip into the wall. The bullets will make a hit mark where they land, revealing the exact spray pattern of the weapon as it fires.

Once you understand the weapon’s spray pattern, you must learn to compensate for each shot’s recoil. To do this, you may need to continuously move your crosshairs in the opposite direction of the recoil pattern or not fire whole clips at once.

What to Know Before Playing: There Is a Lack of Support from Valve

As of September 27, 2023, CS:GO is officially no longer supported by Valve. The game has been replaced with Counter-Strike 2 (CS2,) the next title in the series. However, due to technical constraints and player preferences, the CS team at Valve has made a frozen iteration of CS:GO available for players, allowing players to return to the game they know and love.

All CS:GO items have natively moved to CS2. Unlike in many other games (looking at you, Call of Duty,) players will not lose a single item or cosmetic during the upgrade. However, many players expressed their discontent with the newly released CS2 for many reasons.

Some said they didn’t like the feel of CS2. Others commented that the game seemed to have been released in a somewhat unfinished state and should have been kept in beta. Further, many players had technical restraints that made it impossible to move to CS2, rendering their accounts unusable.

Valve’s Solution

To combat this, Valve released an option that allows players to swap between CS:GO and CS2. The games run independently. So, CS:GO players can’t play with CS2 players. However, this legacy version allowed players who had technical restraints or simple preferences to return to playing the game they wanted to play.

However, it’s crucial to remember that CS:GO is now an obsolete technology. It will not receive any more updates. If you have a problem with the frozen iteration of the game, you’re out of luck. There will be no hotfixes, bug fixes, event updates, nothing.

CS:GO is one of many Valve games in this type of state. Valve’s Team Fortress 2 has remained available despite a lack of support from the developer.

It’s also unclear whether Valve intends to keep CS:GO available. While it’s available to play through the CS2 beta portal now, they may remove this feature. Thus, it may not be worth learning to play the game only for the rug to be pulled out from under you soon.

Alternatives to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive You Can Play Today

Avoid Counter-Strike
VALORENT is a great alternative to Counter-Strike CS:GO, which is no longer being supported.

1. VALORANT

VALORANT is Riot Games’ premier first-person shooter. When the game was released, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community saw its top ten players leave it in favor of VALORANT. CS:GO wasn’t the only game to see such a loss. Call of Duty and Overwatch fans also lost their top ten players for the shiny new toy that Riot Games unleashed onto the market.

The game is similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in terms of game mechanics. So, players from Counter-Strike won’t be starting from zero. However, it’s crucial to remember that VALORANT has many distinguishing features that CS players must acclimate to excel in-game.

2. Escape from Tarkov

While the game is still in beta, Escape from Tarkov is an excellent game to pick up since the beta feels like a full-fledged game. Pre-ordering the game ensures access to the beta. So, picking up the pre-order is basically the same as buying a game.

Escape from Tarkov has many tactical features that make CS:GO so much fun. However, it also has a fleshed-out MMO aspect where progression from each match is carried over between them, adding a unique feel to the game.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III

Not to be confused with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games and released in 2011. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III recently ended its beta period and is scheduled for release on November 10, 2023. So, you can’t play right now, but it’s only ten days until release. So, we’re including it.

Look, maybe I’m extremely basic, but I like Call of Duty. No, it’s not an exact 1:1 with CS:GO regarding mechanics. Call of Duty is much more casual than CS:GO ever was. It caters to both the hardcore and those just looking for a few matches of shooty-shooty bang-bang after work.

However, if you’re looking for a shooter that you can pick up and play from the get-go, Call of Duty is an excellent choice.

Final Thoughts

CS:GO represents a pillar of game design, and its influence on video games at large can’t be overstated. However, in 2023, there may be better games out there to play than it. There are many reasons to avoid CS:GO, even though the developers have made the Legacy Version accessible to everyone.

Alternatives to CS:GO

1. VALORANT
2. Escape from Tarkov
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a competitive first-person shooter developed by Valve for PC.

Do you need Steam to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

You don’t technically need Steam to play CS:GO. However, the multiplayer matchmaking uses the Steam platform and will not function if you aren’t playing through Steam.

Did Counter-Strike 2 replace Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Yes. Counter-Strike 2 initially replaced CS:GO, inheriting all of the latter’s maps, cosmetics, and items. However, due to player feedback, Valve made CS:GO playable again.

How do I play CS:GO in 2023?

To play CS:GO in 2023, you need to find Counter-Strike 2 in your Steam Library. Right-click it and select “Properties.” Click “Betas” and select the CS:GO Legacy Version from the drop-down menu.

Is there cross-play between CS:GO Legacy and CS2?

There is no crossplay between CS:GO Legacy and CS2. They’re entirely independent games.

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