The thought crossed my mind, too: I didn't get into the Counter-Strike 2 limited test, but what if I jump into CS:GO for a few nights, boost my playtime, and see if Valve's light shines bright on me? As Valve detailed last week on Twitter, Counter-Strike 2 test participants have been selected based on a variety of factors, including "recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing."
Turns out, there's a clear limit on Valve's definition of "recent" playtime. The official Counter-Strike Twitter broke the news today for returning CS:GO players hoping for a lucky break:
"Idling on official matchmaking servers in CS:GO does not increase your chances of making into the CS2 Limited Test," the tweet reads. "The playtime that counts was your playtime prior to the start of the Limited Test."
PSA: Idling on official matchmaking servers in CS:GO does not increase your chances of making into the CS2 Limited Test. The playtime that counts was your playtime prior to the start of the Limited Test.March 27, 2023
In other words: if you're not already in, don't bother.
Harsh, but fair. Valve is looking for the most dedicated, hardest-core CS veterans to test and ins and outs of Counter-Strike 2, and I certainly don't fit the bill. I've only clocked a measly 70 hours in CS:GO, and most of that was in 2013. People have birthed and raised fourth graders since the last time I earned a CS:GO skin. And if you have ten times my playtime under your belt, you might've been disqualified for other reasons, like having a record of toxicity or cheating. Or, you just got unlucky.
If it makes you feel any better, it doesn't sound like we're missing much. Counter-Strike 2 is shaping up to be largely the same game as CS:GO. It's a pseudo-sequel to a live service game, similar to Overwatch 2, except instead of new heroes and maps, CS2's tentpole features are smokier smoke grenades, better servers, and backwards skin compatibility. There's also only one map right now (you guessed it, Dust 2).
It's all minor stuff, but I bet it feels like big stuff if you've played enough CS:GO to be plucked by Valve for this test.
Still, that doesn't stop me from wanting in to the exclusive club. Senior editor and seasoned Counter-Striker Rich Stanton managed to make it in, so check back here this week for hands-on CS2 impressions.