Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Valve have launched a new way to vet players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the goal of matchmaking noble, respectable players with their peers. The new ‘Trust Factor’ matchmaking system considers a player’s behaviour across Steam in general as well as in CS:GO, trying to judge whether they’re likely to be a cheater, a smurf, or a straight-up jerk. Valve say the goal is to match players “who are likely to have a good experience playing together.” It’s an interesting expansion of Steam’s benevolent police state. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Valve has rolled out a new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matchmaking system that expands on the Prime Matchmaking system it launched last year. Called Trust, the new system takes a more holistic approach to connecting players than Prime by taking into account a much wider range of factors, including some drawn from outside of CS:GO. 

Prime Matchmaking requires that players link their accounts to their mobile devices and have a minimum CS:GO rank of 21, to help ensure a reasonably consistent level of skill and commitment between connected players. But that "created a hard boundary in the CS:GO community, and players who might otherwise be perfectly happy playing together were separated," Valve said in a blog post

Enter the optimistically-named Trust system. "What if the Prime system was re-imagined using a wider range of factors? We started with that question, and have been experimenting with matching players using observed behaviors and attributes of their Steam account, including the overall amount of time they had spent playing CS:GO, how frequently they were reported for cheating, time spent playing other games on their Steam account, etc," Valve wrote. "We call this system Trust, and these factors considered together form a player’s Trust Factor." 

The experiment appears to have worked out. The post says that matches created using Trust have resulted in fewer reports, even among players who don't have Prime status. As a result, Trust Factor will now be the default CS:GO matchmaking system, although players who prefer Prime can stick with it for now. 

The blog post includes an FAQ, although some of the most obvious Qs aren't Ad: Valve isn't going to provide the full list of variables that determine your Trust Factor, nor is it going to tell you what your Trust Factor is or how you can improve it beyond the general suggestion of not being a dick. 

"We’re still iterating on the Trust Factor model and adjusting the way various factors are combined, but we want to make sure that all you have to do to improve your matchmaking experience is continue to play CS:GO and other Steam games legitimately," the post says. "The more you play, the more information the system has and the easier it will be for the system to determine who you should be matched with." 

Still, if you think your Trust Factor is somehow off the mark because you're getting low-quality matchups (and you're reasonably confident that you haven't been a dick lately), you can drop a "Trust Factor feedback" inquiry email to CSGOTeamFeedback@valvesoftware.com. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive


Counter-strike: Global Offensive has a new matchmaking system which takes into account your behaviour across Steam - not just in CS:GO.

Valve's new system assigns every player a hidden value, known as their Trust Factor. This score is derived from how you have played CS:GO - whether you have had reports lodged against you for cheating, for example - but also your activities in other Steam games.

In a blog post explaining the system, Valve said it deliberately avoiding explaining what other activities it was monitoring that would be folded into your Trust Factor value.

Read more…

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

The continued clotting amalgamation of the Steam Charts, with CODWARs and AssCreed Oranges mysteriously occupying multiple spaces, is having frankly dangerous effects on the column. No The Witcher 3! No GTA V! And H1Z1 seems to have been entirely forgotten by the ages! What is a running joke to do? (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Do you find solace through memetics? Which enormously popular game you like is also liked by lots of other people? What else might form the triangle of your desire? Cast aside your romantic delusions, and delve into the acquisitive mire that is the Steam Charts. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

counter-strike-global-offensive-new-de-dust-2

It’s hard to think of a map in a multiplayer FPS that’s more famous or popular than De_Dust2. Dave Johnston created the original version of Dust for Counter-Strike 1.0 way back in 2000, with Dust 2 coming out the following year. How many other levels are worthy of a sequel?

Valve recently gave the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive version of the map an overhaul, their goals being to improve readability, refine player movement and update the visuals. I had a quick chat with Dave to get his opinion on the changes.

(more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The iconic level De_dust2 has returned revamped to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], having been removed from the main playlists in February. This new version makes a few tweaks to how it plays and brings a fresh new look. Kiss that early ’10s murk and grime goodbye and welcome in this modern city. The new Dust2 hit test servers last week then fully, properly launched for everyone last night. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Wotcha gang. Your old chum Alice here for this week’s charts, as everyone else has been fired. Out of a cannon. Blown into a jillion little pieces. Hence the Apocalyptic yellow tone to the skies today. Hold your breath when outside, and hold your breath while we count down last week’s top ten of the top-selling games on Steam.

(more…)

Counter-Strike

Image by DoctorRed2000 on DeviantArt

For the last few days, Valve has been teasing the release of a revamped version of venerated Counter-Strike map Dust 2, and yesterday they spilled the full beans on the new facelift. Valve's been refreshing old Counter-Strike maps for a while now, in an attempt to keep CS:GO looking as modern as possible, but messing with Dust 2 is a bit more of a risky proposition than modifying less-played maps like Train.

The more beloved a map is, the larger the potential backlash will be. Dust 2 has been a staple of competitive play for over 15 years, and was far and away the most played map in the game until its removal from the active map pool back in February. 

It's not surprising, then, that Valve's rework is so conservative. While all the assets have been replaced with higher-res, higher-poly ones, achieving the goal of bringing the map in line with modern graphical expectations, changes to the way the map plays are modest. 

The biggest change is to the visual clarity, which has been improved across the map. Most of the dark or busy looking areas that allowed players to blend in with their surroundings have been illuminated: the tunnels leading to B are much brighter thanks to a new open ceiling, and a lot of the crates throughout the map have been draped in white cloth to better contrast with player models. Bombsite A benefits from the deletion of the busy-looking doors at the back of A long, and some cleanup of the wall decoration along catwalk. These are bound to be uncontroversial changes, and are in line with what Valve has been doing with the other map facelifts.

There’s also been some common sense cleanup work that probably should’ve happened years ago. Stuff like widening the window from CT spawn into B site, and simplifying the scaffolding near CT-side mid doors, feels like pretty basic quality-of-life improvements that will prevent newer players from getting stuck on weird geometry or having their shots glance off of random pipes.

What impact will these changes have?

In the coming weeks we’ll get a better idea of the full ramifications of this update. A couple things to keep an eye on will be whether the new single car on A long (which replaces a pair of cars that were at odd angles in the map’s previous version) will actually be useful as cover now, and whether the increase in room to maneuver behind B site’s car will increase its viability as a hold point for CTs.

It s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel.

There are also some subtle changes that may not even be intentional, and may or may not have a substantial impact on gameplay. Foremost among these is a problem we’ve seen already on some of the other modernized maps, but doesn’t seem to have caused enough of a ruckus to attract Valve’s notice: almost every previously-flat surface is now slightly bumpy (presumably for visual fidelity reasons), which affects the way grenades bounce off of floors and walls. Given how big of a deal smoke and flash placement is in CS, this may prove to be problematic in the long term, as it’s going to reduce the accuracy with which banked grenades can be placed.

Also on the topic of small, maybe-unintentional changes, the spawn locations have shifted slightly. A helpful redditor has pointed out after exploring the map that counter-terrorists can now get to their side of A long a full two seconds before terrorists can get to theirs, which may impact which corners CT players choose to hold, and which angles T players choose to peek from. Again, these are the kind of changes that will require some time to shake out, and we won’t know the full effect of this stuff until the competitive meta has fully adapted, which may take even longer than usual given there's a decade-plus of habits to unlearn.

But Valve seems to have struck a good balance with this update. It’s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel. From a purely visual perspective, the new Dust 2 is beautiful, and undeniably an upgrade from the previous iteration. The terrorists have also gotten new higher-fidelity player models as part of the deal, and they’re a big improvement over the dated look of the existing models. (Puzzlingly, the CT models have not gotten the same treatment thus far.)

There are of course a host of bugs related to the new geometry, allowing for all manner of unintentional boost spots and weird clipping, but this has always been the case with these big map refreshes, and generally they get fixed in a fairly timely manner. Once these issues are addressed, we should expect to see Dust 2 re-added to the Active Duty map pool (possibly at the expense of Cobblestone) and the tournament circuit will quickly demonstrate what effect, if any, the update will have on the way Counter-Strike’s most iconic map is played.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

On Monday Valve announced that it was overhauling Dust2, Counter-Strike's most iconic map, and now it has detailed all the changes, released images and opened the arena up for beta testing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Most of the changes are visual—Valve has quadrupled the texture resolution and changed the art style, opting for a lighter colour palate and a more obvious North African feel, with signs for a Kasbah (basically a fortress), a bazaar and a hotel. Overall the map manages to feel a lot brighter but more decrepit, with weathered walls and crumbling pillars. I'm a big fan.

There's no major changes to the structure of the map, which I supposed is to be expected, but there are some important tweaks. The most noticeable one is at the B bomb site, where the raised area to the back corner has been lowered so it's level with the rest of the area, as you can see in the image below (old on the left, new on the right). The slider won't work here, but you can use it on Valve's blog post unveiling the changes to compare the two versions.

The broken down car on the site has been moved to make it easier to get behind, the famous 'window' looking down on the middle of the map has been widened, while the section of tunnels that approaches the bomb site has had parts of the roof smashed away so that more light floods in.

Bomb site A has changed less: Valve has removed some of the dark doorways and generally de-cluttered the area so there's less objects to get stuck on. Take a look:

At Mid, Valve has added a new shallow staircase, removed some alcoves and improved the lighting. The last change is to the T-side character models, which Valve hopes make them look like "hardened veterans" of CS.

You can test the map out in the game's beta branch—here's some instructions on how to opt in. Do you like what you see?

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