You've got to love the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developers. Bemoaned by fans for a lack of communication, never fixing the 'right' things, and seemingly ignoring the community's repeated requests for things like higher tick servers, Valve's crack team nevertheless stick their heads over the parapet every few months and throw us a bone. At which point, everyone complains that said bone lacks the all-important marrow, it's the wrong type of bone, and we didn't ask for a god damn bone anyway Gaben pls.
I half-think it's deliberate. Anyway, the latest patch for CS:GO has arrived and makes mostly minor changes to the matchmaking frontend: Premier mode can now be selected alongside other competitive maps (you used to have to choose one or the other), and the game now lets you set up multiple matchmaking presets for competitive (ie, your favourite map groupings). There are also some miscellaneous fixes to things like the bot difficulty selector in War Games and the ever-present "stability improvements".
What really tickled me about these patch notes, however, is that they have "Added a link to CS:GO Fair Play Guidelines when playing on official game servers." That is, when the 'Accept' button appears to confirm a competitive match, it will now include a link to some new fair play guidelines: so let's have a look!
"Playing CS:GO together works best when everyone goes into a match with similar expectations. Players who choose to play on official CS:GO servers are expected to:
In all modes:
– Never cheat.
– Never grief or verbally abuse your teammates or opponents.
– Never use any automation for any reason."
By Jove they've done it! I can sense the despair emanating from the bedrooms of cheaters across the globe, as they realise that CS:GO has their number. In all seriousness, it's obviously not unusual for a developer to clarify that, yes, we don't want cheating in our game. But in the context of CS:GO's omnipresent issues with cheaters of all stripes, and Valorant seemingly doing a great job with its bespoke Vanguard anti-cheat software, this can't help but seem a little ridiculous.
It actually gets even dafter though: the fair play guidelines go on to say that in Competitive and Wingman modes, you are expected to "play to win." Well duh. There's a little asterisk after this which adds the following note at the bottom of the page: "Obviously it’s fine to try new things and experiment with new strats and skills, but players should not enter a match with the intention of losing or disrupting their teammates."
There's a weird mix of the self-evident and Valve almost tripping over itself as it tries to muddle through. It's still my favourite shooter out there, of course, and at least now I'll know that any cheaters will feel the burning shame of having ignored the fair play guidelines.
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."