Why Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players are upset at Valve's community server clampdown

Mods in the firing line.

In July 2015, Valve promised to strike hard at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community servers it deemed were in breach of its guidelines. Now, it's made good on that promise.

This month, Valve clamped down on server operators who enabled custom models or weapon skins that don't already exist in the shooter's ecosystem - much to the annoyance of players who enjoy using mods.

Valve targeted server operators who provided free or paid services "that falsified the contents of a player's profile or inventory".

Here's what Valve doesn't like, according to a post on the Counter-Strike blog:

  • 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.
  • [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]

Why? Here's Valve:

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.

You can understand Valve wanting to clamp down on falsified profile ranks and scoreboards. It's the bit about using items not in your inventory that's come under fire from CS:GO's legion of players.

Here's a snippet from the CS:GO subReddit:


CS:GO is one of the biggest first-person shooters in the world, with around 10m people playing per month. And community servers continue to prove immensely popular. Valve said over the past month 3.1m played on community servers - and the number grows each month.

While the wording of Valve's server guidelines have caused confusion (are new custom character models allowed or not?), many players reckon it's the beginning of the end for popular CS:GO mods, such as zombies.

The video, below, shows off one such zombie mod:

Critics suggest Valve's clampdown is part of a bid to ensure the money generated by CS:GO's virtual economy continues to roll in, and have expressed disappointment that the company would restrict the modding of a game that began life as a Half-Life mod.

Here's another comment from Reddit that pretty much sums up the current feeling:


Critics also accuse Valve of employing one rule for CS:GO and another for its other games. Dota 2, for example, recently launched custom game modes. In fact one starred at the last The International tournament.

And, Valve has demonstrated it's keen to work with modders by giving its blessing to the standalone release of a raft of Half-Life-related games.

Valve seems unmoved, though. It's already taken down a number of CS:GO community servers and pledged to target others that break its rules.

To avoid future disruption game server operators are best advised to comply with CS:GO server operation guidelines described above.

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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