Valve’s Counter-Strike “Global Offensive” is a Failing Strategy

Counter-Strike Global Offensive, was released in August of 2012 leaving gamers with high expectations for updated graphics, better gameplay, and Valve’s new matchmaking system. As a professional Counter-Strike player for the last decade I was looking forward to CS:GO but also had my doubts. Last summer I had the opportunity to do an on camera interview with Chet Faliszek , a developer from Valve at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Most of my questions were community based and I was able to express my concern for where the community would go and how the matchmaking would work and improve gameplay as they claimed. Chet left me with unanswered questions and a feeling of uncertainty. From the beginning there has been a sense of worry and doubt, not only from players but also from Valve’s developers.

Counter-Strike has had millions of gamers worldwide logging countless hours since 1999, but when Counter-Strike Source was released in 2004 there was an instant division in the community. Many gamers stuck with the older version of Counter-Strike, 1.6, while others including professionals decided to make the switch to Source. I was eager to see if Valve would be able to merge the two communities, bring newbies aboard, while also maintaining the competitive aspect players desire.

Since CS:GO launched there has been huge amounts of negative feedback from not only professionals but also casual gamers within the community. It is no secret that anyone who has used the CS:GO matchmaking system has been left feeling disappointed and frustrated. Players complain of being placed in a server nowhere near their location. On every use, the matchmaking system has placed me on far-away servers on the East Coast or even Europe; the bad connection from such distances leaves the game nearly unplayable and not enjoyable. Not only does this make gameplay extremely difficult, but often times my teammates do not even speak English which means strategy is no longer being used. To make it worse, player’s statistics during matches are tracked and each player receives a rank. The ranking system then determines the players you are matched up with for each game. This means you are being matched with players that may not actually share the same skill level, but because of things out of their control have been forcibly ranked lower.

Valve had the right idea with the matchmaking system, but it has not been properly executed. Since the release there has been over a dozen updates including; tweaks in the matchmaking system, game modes, skill groups, weapons, grenades, additional levels, hit boxes, basic interface options, and more. Each update gives players a sense of hope that things will be fixed and will make CS:GO playable and more enjoyable. Players are missing weapon accessories that are in past versions of Counter-Strike as well as the accuracy of current weapons that players have been accustomed to for over a decade. Beyond interface differences and updates to the ranking system, there has been no improvement in the matchmaking system itself since the release in October. Those looking to play competitively with others in their same skill rank are left in boredom.

For the last decade, Counter-Strike has been such a major part of my life and of the competitive gaming scene as a whole. There has been various league play, local competitions, and many tournaments nationwide. Out of the various games I play, Counter-Strike has always been at the top of my list. Now-a-days I am lucky if I play CS:GO monthly because it is such a terrible experience each time. It is impossible to look forward to playing a game where players are; unable to walk and shoot due to connectivity issues, cannot understand their teammates, and is left with a game that contains no more strategy when it should be at the center. Valve has let the community down as a whole and I am not sure they can ever make Counter-Strike what it once was, one of the world’s most popular online games.

Hollyanne Setola

Hollyanne lives in San Diego CA and has been gaming professionally for over a decade. She also has a Hello Kitty obsession and collects PEZ dispensers.


  1. The only real point your right on is the connectivity issue, but everything else is really just you not liking the game, wich is fine.. Just don’t go and write an “article” that is just a long rant post, and comes up with no constructive points. CS:GO is in many way a merger between 1.6 and Source, but closer to 1.6 in it’s core gameplay mechanics, anyone who disagrees, either did not come out of the 1.6 era, or are not erally attentive….. GO have it’s issues, but so do all games, if your unhappy with something, atleast try to surgest things in a construvtive manner, instead of ranting on like a butthurt child….. Sorry but got me pissed had to say it. Peace

  2. I seem to always get shit teammates that should be at least 2 ranks lower than what they are and of course I go up against people that play like their two ranks higher. Not fun when you have shit teammates.

    It’s been a while since this article was posted. I dont have any problems with pings.

  3. Regarding the servers, you should decrease the maximum ping for matchmaking. I have it at 50,and it always puts me on server with +/- 30 ping. What i have to complain about is that lately the match-making system has put me with players _WAY_ over my skill level, which sucks for both me and my teammates. Other thing is that one in a while people with over a hundred in ping joins the game, which really is horrible.

  4. I agree on the language barrier, but that’s something you have to get used to if you live in Europe. The ping issues can be fixed by decreasing “Max acceptable matchmaking ping” in settings.

    And the recoil changes… Seriously? It’s a new game. It would be boring if there would be nothing you needed to adapt to.

  5. Never had an issue with connectivity. CS:GO feels a lot more like 1.6 than source ever did and I like it (GO) a lot more for that.

  6. I’ve been playing this game for about a month now, and have no problem with the match making and think it is great that can you play an MR15 match whenever you feel like it.

  7. I made the switch to cs:go from source about two months ago and I am glad I did. I am having a great experience with GO. Although the initial couple hours of getting use to the skins and map changes was pretty difficult.

    Also, I don’t know if its because I am located in Seattle, but I’ve yet to experience a single issue with connectivity in the two months I have been playing. I felt really impressed with its stability.

      1. you were or still are a fan’girl’ of cs 1.6, ok so source wasn’t very good i know(i like it old, players just don’t) and i get that it’s hard to switch games but go is much closer to 1.6 then source and go brought cs back from the sewer to the top of the gaming industry. because of go Counter Strike is alive once again.

  8. Your main point is the built in matchmaking being the biggest issue – let’s not forget that no other counter-strike even has this feature. While the built in matchmaking isn’t good for ‘seasoned’ players, I think it definitely serves a purpose for people who want a quick and easy game under competitive rules.

    The truth is, you should be using a system like ESEA or Leetway – these offer a matchmaking system way beyond the built in system. You could even just join servers normally, totally avoiding the matchmaking system.

    And on a final note, let’s also not forget what cs:go has done for the counter-strike franchise as a whole. Unlike source, cs:go was almost immediately played in the competitive scene and gained plenty of popularity at various events and indeed on live stream channels throughout the world (especially twitch.tv). It brought many new players into the game and it continues to improve in every update. Give Valve time – they’ve been updating source ever since it came out, so we’ve still got a long way to go yet.

    1. I should not have to pay 7 dollars a month to play a good game of counter-strike…period. I have been around far to long for that :/

      I am not going to pay MONTHLY for ESEA unless I am pro again, which is not happening atm on this game..that is for sure.

      It was immedately played pretty much because of Valve’s deal WITH CS:GO – fyi

  9. Cs go fail to deliver… and is doom to be at pair with cs:cz using lower price than it counterparts just to hide the fact cs go is a “piece of port” just the 5 vs 5 matchmakeing is the only thin that i like and is integrate in that piece of port..

  10. I don’t know if the scene is diffrent in the US but in europe but the proffesionals did not switch oveer to source in europe. Sure source had competitions but not nearly as hyped as 1.6. I don’t think anyone expected GO to be a saviour and unifying aspect of the CS scene, but i think it is doing pretty well considering one can’t please all. I for one are happy of how well it has worked, as a sourceplayer i am glad that the competative scene has switched along with me.

    I don’t really understand why people insist on useing the matchmakingsystem tho. I think it really sucks and the old system of useing mIRC or sites like esea or CSSmixes works realy well still. The matchmaking system is and will always be crap, the skins, the abillity to only use one flash and so on just urks me.

  11. Well I would like to start off by saying good article. All of what you said is 100% correct and I agree with you. With that said, you should know that every single game that has a match making rating system is plagued with all of those problems. Nobody has seemed to get it right yet. As it is a rather new thing that has come out and people are still trying to get it right. And that is exactly why I don’t use the system and just do what I have done for years and that’s play on ESEA servers. I however actually like most of the weapon changes, except the the desert eagle changes, should they have just left it alone? Time will tell, the game is still young and you have to think about all the changes that 1.6 and source went through as the game went on. GO is still a pretty young game, I feel like I paid money to get into an open beta with CS:GO and what not.

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