Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Restricts Free Players From Ranked Play

Valve has kicked out free Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players from its ranked matchmaking due to "bad actors."


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is still free-to-play, but you'll have to pay the piper if you want to play the game's ranked modes. Valve recently announced that free players will be restricted from earning XP, drops, or ranks due to free players "hurting the experience" of other players.

"Along with all the gameplay that we made available for free, new players had access to drops, Ranks, Skill Groups, and a free path to Prime matchmaking," the blog post announcing the change reads in part. "Unfortunately, over time, those benefits have become an incentive for bad actors to hurt the experience of both new and existing players. So today we’re revising the offering for new players."

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While this essentially shuts non-Prime players out of ranked, those free players who want to keep their rank, skill group, and XP have two weeks to purchase a Prime pass, which costs $15. After that, their progress will be wiped. For those non-Prime players who desire skill-based matchmaking, Valve is introducing a new "Unranked" matchmaking mode that will use your perceived skill to match you with players, but will not provide you with a skill group, ranks, or drops.

It's not necessarily clear what behavior Valve feels is "hurting the experience" of Prime players, but given that CS:GO is one of the most popular games on Steam, players have been known to use dummy accounts to grief other players in free-to-play games. In other CS:GO news, Valve recently added a detailed stats page to the game that costs $1 a month, leading some players to complain that the feature should be free. Back in March, the game temporarily disappeared from the libraries of Steam users, only to mysteriously reappear a few hours later.

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