Valve recently brought the hammer down on custom Counter-Strike servers that don’t fall within a set of very specific guidelines. It’s a big change to the game’s ecosystem, and many players don’t think it’s for the better.
In a post on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s official site, Valve announced the following rules:
We’re aware that some server operators are offering to their players false inventories and/or profiles as a free or paid service via mods on their servers. These mods inaccurately report the contents of a player’s inventory and/or matchmaking status, devaluing both and potentially creating a confusing experience for players.
Therefore, we are asking server operators to remove any mods and plugins that falsify the contents of a player’s profile or inventory.
To be clear, the services that should not be offered on a community server include (but are not limited to):
– Allowing players to claim temporary ownership of CS:GO items that are not in their inventory (Weapon skins, knives, etc.).
– Providing a falsified competitive skill group and/or profile rank status or scoreboard coin (e.g., Operation Challenge Coins).
– Interfering with systems that allow players to correctly access their own CS:GO inventories, items, or profile.
This means pretty much all server mods that provide players with custom items of any sort (weapons, skins, etc) are not allowed.
For a portion of Counter-Strike’s player base, this came as a huge shock. It’s a move that stands to eliminate the possibility of more outlandish gametypes, given that players must now operate strictly within the confines of what Valve’s accepted into Counter-Strike. While the game does have a Steam Workshop, it’s only for maps. Players can contribute custom weapon skins to the game (which are accepted or refused at Valve’s discretion), but non-cosmetic changes are a no-no.
As many players have pointed out, the original Counter-Strike was born of a mod that completely overhauled a pre-existing (albeit single-player) game, Half-Life. Meanwhile, Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source gave birth to popular overhauls like the Zombie Mod. Even in these dystopic modern futuretimes, Valve’s own DOTA 2 has robust built-in support for custom gametypes. Counter-Strike players feel like they’re getting the shortest possible end of the stick.
Of course, DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are very different games built on very different infrastructures, so it’s doubtful that John Q Steamsman could walk down a hall and flip a switch (or twist a... never mind) to make it all squaresies. On top of that, DOTA 2's mod system is hardly the Wild West scenario a lot of CSGO players seem to be hearkening back to.
Still, I can’t help but sympathize with CSGO players. While some of these custom servers were likely shady money-making operations or, as Valve said, mindless destroyers of the in-game economy, limits this strict are a bummer. There’s a looming implication of, “Sure, you can try to make a crazy custom gametype, but you can only do so much and you might be breaking the rules and you know what, I just wouldn’t risk it if I were you.” It feels like Valve would’ve been better off creating a separate ecosystem for these types of things, rather than marking them as off-limits altogether. Here’s hoping they take a look at all this, um, impassioned feedback and decide to sort out a better solution.
Update 1/29/16 4:35 PM: Valve has eased off on one part of their new policy, adding a strike-through to the portion of it that read, “To clarify: it is also not acceptable to provide players with custom models and/or weapon skins that do not exist in the CS:GO ecosystem.”
A Valve employee explained the change on Reddit. “There hasn’t been any change in the stated policy,” they said, “though admittedly the clarification in that post made it seem that way (so we’ll update that sentence). Innovation is awesome and almost every mod we see is fine. Our only concern, as the community correctly understands, is with mods that specifically misrepresent a player’s skill group/rank or the items they own.”
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