I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled A Different Side Of Gaming - CS:GO: The Beginning
Image: Fitz

Over the past several months, I have delved into the world of Counter Strike: Global Offensive so you didn’t have to.

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I have never been huge on first person shooters. In my mind, Call Of Duty peaked at the first Black Ops, and the whole PC Master Race claptrap was just that- a bunch of nonsense with their excessive framerates and pixel densities. I just wanted a good story, or perhaps some sort of tactical gameplay. Strategy and JRPG-style games are my jam, bonus points for a combination of the two.

That was until I started a new job, and several of my work colleagues were obsessed with CS:GO and convinced me to buy and download the game on my laptop, which I thought was fairly capable at the time.

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The Benchmark

I started playing casually with some of my work colleagues, and, unsurprisingly, I got rekt pretty hard. I thought nothing of it, I’m new to this after all. I honestly played to humor my colleagues (at first).

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One of them, an avid PC builder, suggested I run a benchmark downloaded off the Steam workshop. Running that benchmark shattered all the faith I had in my little laptop, clocking an average of 23 frames per second at the lowest settings.

This became a blessing in disguise, as this colleague decided to lend me a much more adequate build of his that I eventually bought. I also bought a few peripherals from another colleague to complete my setup.

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Even then, I preferred to play other games. CS:GO was a social experience, but not much more than that. But I had begun to realize that, in some games, frames matter. Counter Strike is one of those games.

The Skins

AWP Dragon Lore sells at thousands of dollars!
AWP Dragon Lore sells at thousands of dollars!
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I was amazed to discover that there were skins, skins, worth thousands of dollars. Cosmetic items that made absolutely no difference to the gameplay essentially functioning as a cryptocurrency that could be bought, sold, traded, or gambled. This is not something I have personally gotten into, but is fascinating nonetheless.

Competitive Matchmaking

The skill group badges have been updated somewhat, but haven’t changed drastically
The skill group badges have been updated somewhat, but haven’t changed drastically
Image: tobyscs.com
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Herein lies the real meat of CS:GO. It is first and foremost a competitive game where players are matched by Valve’s ELO wizardry against other players of a similar skill.

The unranked player’s journey begins by winning up to 2 games a day for a total of 10 wins, at which point the player is bestowed a skill group.

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Nobody outside of Valve knows how the ELO system they created for CS:GO really works. There are educated guesses at best.

I decided to give it a go eventually, and earned the skill group (more commonly and erroneously referred to as a rank) of Silver Elite Master, top of the trash pile.

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This was meant to be a once off, but instead, it has evolved into a series since there was too much info to put into one article.

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Next time, I will diverge a little, and talk about the Dark Side of CS:GO. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments below! (You know you want to!)

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