Welcome to the world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, an online multiplayer first-person shooter with gameplay that’s been around for almost two decades.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO for short, is a team-based FPS game developed by Valve and released in August 2012. Valve pioneered the Counter-Strike series in its past games Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source. Those games garnered a niche competitive scene that has grown to be one of the world’s biggest esports communities to date.
Valve also created other popular game series like Dota, Half-Life, Team Fortress, Portal, and Left 4 Dead. Artifact, a Dota-based card game, is the next Valve project in the works.
To play CS:GO, all you need to do is download the Steam client, create a Steam account, and buy the game for $14.99. After that, you’ve just unlocked an intricate new world of gaming that will last you for years to come.
The game has one main conflict between two sides—Terrorists (Ts) and Counter-Terrorists (CTs). Bomb Defusal is the main game mode played in competitive play, but there are also other game modes available for improving skill, such as Wingman, Hostage Situation, Arms Race, Deathmatch, Demolition, and Weapons Expert. Bomb Defusal has a number of similarities to Call of Duty’s Search and Destroy mode, except CS:GO games last much longer in comparison.
In Bomb Defusal, where players only have one life per round, the general goal for both sides is to kill each other within the allotted time of one minute and 50 seconds. Ts must plant a bomb at a site, either the A site or B site, and successfully defend and detonate the bomb. CTs, on the other hand, must defend the bomb sites until time runs out. If the bomb is planted, CTs have 40 seconds to kill the defending attackers and defuse the bomb, or else they lose the round.
A competitive game of CS:GO consists of 30 rounds between two teams of five players. A casual game, however, can last up to 15 rounds with the first team to eight as the winner. The main differences between the two are that the money system is much simpler in Casual, and that Casual allows 10 players per team instead of the set five players per team.
CS:GO’s in-game economy system is what separates it from its FPS counterparts. Players start with pistols and $800 each before they transition on to much better weaponry, like rifles, snipers, SMGs, shotguns, and LMGs. Prior to each round, players have 15 seconds (the “freeze time”) to decide on guns and utility to buy. The items that they buy can be mixed based on certain situations in-game, but they can’t be returned or refunded for money—once you buy something, you’re stuck with it until you’re killed.
For a comprehensive guide to every gun in the game, check out this guide on all of the weaponry. To learn more about the intricacies of the economy system, you can read this guide on the game’s money and the current meta.
CS:GO is one of the biggest FPS esports. Professional teams travel all over the world competing in tournaments for money, trophies, and glory. Similar to how conventional sports work, CS:GO requires countless hours of hard work to perfect individual and team practice, as well as unique traits of mental fortitude and physical endurance.
Valve holds a $1 million tournament twice per year, called The Major, where players from various regions of the world compete in Counter-Strike’s most prestigious event. It hosts teams from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia—the five major continents where esports are popular.
In professional play, there are three phases to every round in a competitive match: the pre-execute, the execute, and the retake. The pre-execute is where the Ts set up to take a site with a strategy, while the execute is when the Ts move in and attempt to take control of the site. If the Ts have a successful execute and plant the bomb, the CTs are forced into the retake phase. During the retake, CTs must regain control of the site and successfully defuse the bomb or else the Ts win the round.
Usually, teams compete in best-of-three competitive matches to formally determine the winner. There’s a veto process involved where captains and coaches of each team coordinate which maps to ban, pick, and leave as the match decider. The played maps are chosen from the “Active Duty” map pool, which Valve changes about once or twice a year. The current maps are Cache, Dust II, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, and Train.
If you’ve heard about or played CS:GO before, you probably know about one of its most compelling in-game aspects—weapon skins. Skins are one of many cosmetic items implemented into the game meant purely for aesthetic purposes. Along with weapon stickers, graffiti sprays, and profile badges, CS:GO's cosmetics add an extra feel to the game without compromising the core gameplay.
Sometimes players in the CS:GO community aren’t the most well-mannered, especially during games in which they’re losing, because emotions are a huge part of the game. Not only that, but toxicity, racism, and sexism are rampant issues among the casual player base. The majority of players in CS:GO, however, aren’t like that.
It’s best to take whatever someone says with a grain of salt. Remember that CS:GO is just a game and that people feel empowered when they remain anonymous behind a computer screen. Promoting positivity and appreciating wholesome players also goes a long way, even to strangers over the internet. You're in the game servers to have fun, so don’t fight fire with fire.
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