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3 Reasons to Avoid Playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (and What I'm Playing Instead)

In the world of competitive first-person shooters, few titles have had as much impact and staying power as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Released in 2012 by Valve, CS:GO has been a staple of the esports scene for over a decade, captivating millions of players worldwide with its tactical gameplay, high skill ceiling, and thrilling moments.

However, as we move further into 2023, it‘s worth taking a step back and evaluating whether CS:GO is still the best choice for players looking to dive into the world of competitive shooters. While the game undoubtedly has its merits, there are several compelling reasons why you might want to avoid playing CS:GO and instead explore some of the newer, more polished alternatives on the market.

  1. A Notoriously Toxic Community
    One of the biggest drawbacks of playing CS:GO in 2023 is the game‘s notorious community, which has earned a reputation for being one of the most toxic and unwelcoming in all of gaming. From the moment you join your first match, you‘re likely to encounter a barrage of flamers – players who take every opportunity to insult, belittle, and harass their teammates and opponents alike.

This toxicity isn‘t limited to just verbal abuse, either. CS:GO also has a long-standing problem with cheaters and hackers, who use third-party software to gain an unfair advantage over other players. Encountering a cheater in a match can be incredibly frustrating, as it completely undermines the competitive integrity of the game and ruins the experience for everyone involved.

Perhaps even more concerning than the presence of flamers and cheaters is the prevalence of scammers within the CS:GO community. Due to the game‘s focus on cosmetic skins and other valuable in-game items, there are countless individuals who seek to take advantage of unsuspecting players through various scams and phishing attempts.

Some common scams to watch out for include:

  • Voting scams, where a scammer tries to trick you into visiting a malicious website under the guise of voting for their team
  • Steam Wallet scams, where a scammer promises to send you money or gift codes in exchange for in-game items, but never follows through
  • PayPal scams, where a scammer sends you money for an item, only to later reverse the transaction and leave you with nothing
  • Fake bot scams, where a scammer impersonates a legitimate trading bot to steal your items
  • Fake gambling site scams, where a scammer lures you to a rigged gambling website that steals your skins
  • Fake software scams, where a scammer tricks you into downloading malicious software under the pretense of joining their team or tournament
  • Impersonation scams, where a scammer pretends to be a Valve employee or other authority figure to gain access to your account
  • Fake middleman scams, where a scammer acts as a neutral third party in a trade, only to run off with both players‘ items
  • Fake skin trading site scams, where a scammer creates a convincing replica of a legitimate trading site to steal your login information and inventory

The sheer variety and prevalence of these scams can make engaging with the CS:GO community a risky and stressful experience, especially for newer or younger players who may not be as savvy when it comes to online safety.

Making matters worse is the fact that, due to CS:GO‘s free-to-play nature, there are very few consequences for toxic behavior or scamming. If a player is banned for cheating or harassment, they can simply create a new account and jump right back into the game with minimal effort. This lack of accountability only serves to embolden bad actors and perpetuate the cycle of toxicity within the community.

  1. A Steep Learning Curve
    Another factor to consider before jumping into CS:GO is the game‘s notoriously steep learning curve. While the basic premise of the game is simple enough – two teams of five players compete to either plant or defuse a bomb, or eliminate the opposing team – the devil is in the details.

One of the most unique and challenging aspects of CS:GO‘s gameplay is its spray patterns. Unlike many other shooters, where bullets fly in a predictable straight line, each weapon in CS:GO has its own distinct spray pattern that must be learned and mastered. When you hold down the trigger and fire continuously, the recoil of the gun causes your bullets to veer off in a specific pattern, which can be difficult to control without practice.

To make matters worse, CS:GO doesn‘t have any sort of hit marker system to provide feedback on whether your shots are landing. This means that, in addition to learning the spray patterns for each weapon, you also have to rely on your own perception and game sense to determine whether you‘re hitting your targets.

For new players, this lack of feedback can be incredibly frustrating, as it‘s hard to tell whether you‘re simply missing your shots or if you‘re not properly compensating for the recoil. It can take hours of practice and experimentation to get a feel for each weapon‘s spray pattern and develop the muscle memory necessary to consistently land shots.

To make matters worse, CS:GO‘s matchmaking system doesn‘t always do the best job of pairing players of similar skill levels. It‘s not uncommon for new players to find themselves matched up against much more experienced opponents who have already mastered the game‘s mechanics and strategies. This can lead to a lot of one-sided matches and frustrating deaths, which can quickly sap the fun out of the learning process.

  1. Lack of Support from Valve
    Perhaps the most concerning reason to avoid playing CS:GO in 2023 is the fact that the game is no longer being actively supported by its developer, Valve. As of September 27, 2023, CS:GO has officially been replaced by its successor, Counter-Strike 2 (CS2).

While Valve has made a "frozen" version of CS:GO available for players who prefer the classic experience or can‘t run CS2 due to technical limitations, this version of the game will not receive any further updates, bug fixes, or new content. Essentially, what you see is what you get – a snapshot of CS:GO as it existed on September 27, 2023, with all of its existing flaws and limitations.

This lack of ongoing support from Valve raises some serious questions about the long-term viability of playing CS:GO. Without regular updates and improvements, the game runs the risk of becoming stale and unbalanced over time. Any bugs or exploits that exist in the current version of the game will remain unfixed, potentially leading to a worse overall experience for players.

There‘s also no guarantee that Valve will continue to keep the frozen version of CS:GO available indefinitely. As CS2 becomes the main focus of the Counter-Strike franchise, there‘s a possibility that the developers may eventually phase out support for the legacy version altogether. This means that any time and effort invested into learning and mastering CS:GO could potentially be wasted if the game becomes unplayable in the future.

  1. A Wealth of High-Quality Alternatives
    Perhaps the strongest argument for avoiding CS:GO in 2023 is the fact that there are simply so many excellent alternatives available. In the years since CS:GO‘s release, the competitive shooter genre has exploded in popularity, with dozens of high-quality titles vying for players‘ attention.

One of the most prominent contenders is Valorant, Riot Games‘ take on the tactical shooter formula. While Valorant shares many similarities with CS:GO, including a focus on precise gunplay and team-based strategy, it also introduces a host of unique mechanics and features that help set it apart.

For example, each player in Valorant chooses from a roster of agents, each with their own distinct abilities and playstyles. These abilities add an extra layer of strategy and variety to the gameplay, as teams must coordinate their agent selections and ability usage to gain an edge over their opponents.

Valorant also boasts a more modern and polished presentation than CS:GO, with crisp visuals, smooth animations, and a sleek UI that makes navigating the game a breeze. And with Riot‘s proven track record of supporting its games with regular updates and balance patches, players can feel confident that Valorant will continue to evolve and improve over time.

Another strong alternative to CS:GO is Escape from Tarkov, a hardcore tactical shooter that blends elements of MMOs and survival games. In Tarkov, players take on the role of a mercenary fighting for survival in a war-torn Russian city, looting supplies and engaging in tense, high-stakes firefights with other players and AI-controlled enemies.

What sets Tarkov apart from other shooters is its emphasis on realism and immersion. Every aspect of the game, from the ballistics modeling to the inventory management, is designed to be as authentic and unforgiving as possible. Players must carefully manage their gear and resources, as death in Tarkov means losing everything you‘ve acquired during that session.

While Escape from Tarkov may be too hardcore for some players, those looking for a truly challenging and immersive shooter experience will find a lot to love. And with the game still in active development, there‘s always something new and exciting on the horizon.

For players who prefer a more casual and accessible shooter experience, there‘s always the Call of Duty series. The latest entry, Modern Warfare III, is set to release on November 10, 2023, and promises to deliver the same fast-paced, action-packed gameplay that fans have come to expect from the franchise.

While Call of Duty may not have the same level of tactical depth as CS:GO or Valorant, it more than makes up for it with its sheer variety and accessibility. With a wide range of game modes, from classic team deathmatch to more objective-based fare like Domination and Search and Destroy, there‘s something for players of all skill levels to enjoy.

Modern Warfare III also boasts an impressive level of polish and attention to detail, with stunning visuals, tight gunplay, and a wealth of customization options to help players tailor their loadouts to their playstyle. And with cross-platform play and progression, players can easily jump between different platforms and carry their progress with them.

Other notable alternatives to CS:GO include Rainbow Six Siege, which focuses on tactical, team-based gameplay with destructible environments; Apex Legends, a fast-paced battle royale shooter with unique character abilities; and Overwatch 2, a colorful hero shooter with a diverse cast of characters and abilities.

Ultimately, the sheer variety and quality of competitive shooters available in 2023 makes it hard to justify sticking with CS:GO, especially given its aging mechanics, toxic community, and lack of developer support. Whether you‘re a hardcore competitive player or a casual fan just looking to have some fun, there‘s never been a better time to explore the wide world of shooters and find the game that‘s right for you.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may be a classic of the competitive shooter genre, but it‘s far from the only game in town. With its toxic community, steep learning curve, and lack of ongoing support from Valve, there are plenty of reasons to be wary of jumping into CS:GO in 2023.

Fortunately, there are countless amazing alternatives available, each with their own unique strengths and appeal. From the slick, ability-driven action of Valorant to the hardcore realism of Escape from Tarkov to the casual, accessible fun of Call of Duty, there‘s a shooter out there for every type of player.

So if you‘re looking to get your competitive gaming fix in 2023, don‘t feel like you have to settle for CS:GO just because it‘s the biggest name in the scene. Take some time to explore the wealth of options out there, and you‘re sure to find a game that ticks all your boxes and keeps you coming back for more.