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This Month In: Counter-Strike GO (January 2013)

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Welcome to the first This Month In: Counter-Strike GO, a new series that gives you recaps of the happenings and latest news of your favorite game franchises. Despite the holiday season and New Year’s still being fresh in our calendars, there’s been a lot going on in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve’s latest Counter-Strike game that launched in August 2012.

In the recent weeks, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive repeatedly went on sale for 25% to 50% off its regular price (to $7.50 or under 7 Euros) in conjunction with the Steam Holiday Sale period. This has been bringing an influx of new players to the game, though the number of active players has been fluctuating. The sheer number of players on Christmas day (December 25) combined with the update from the previous day not being pushed to all official servers caused a brief period of lag and sudden game disruption for majority of players; thankfully this didn’t last long and everything was back to normal by December 27.

On Christmas eve of 2012 (That’s December 24), Valve released an update containing a few moderate changes. They added a bit of ‘holiday cheer’ to the killcam (where red seasonal hats were automatically superimposed on top of everyone’s heads in the killcam view), added a brand new “commend and report” interface to the scoreboard where you can anonymously commend other players for being a great leader, teacher or friendly and also report bad folks who are hacking, voice or text spamming or grieving and the main menu of Counter-Strike now shows your rank and competitive wins. Other main chances include: They also increased the leeway time by 1 minute, from 3 to 4 minutes, before disconnected players receive a cooldown and decreased the maximum frame rate in the main menu since the animations in the menu were causing unnecessary stress to graphics cards.

At about the same time, Valve also brought out limited edition Counter-Strike branded headphones made by gaming hardware company, Plantronics. The changes were strictly cosmetic as Valve put Counter-Strike branding (along with Aperture Science, Dota 2 and Mann Co TF2 decals available for the inclined) atop Plantronics’ $80 GameCom 780 surround headset and $300 ‘tournament grade’ GameCom Commander headset.

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Just this week on Wednesday (January 9, 2013), Valve issued another update which, first of all, took off the holiday cheer killcam addition (shown above, seeing it’s no longer the year end holiday season) while adding a comment “changed holiday cheer level to match CS1.6”, a playful jab at the unrelenting requests by old-school players to make CS:GO more similar to the classic Counter-Strike 1.6. This update also added the ability to report underperforming servers and servers with inappropriate content, and fixed several bugs relating to the rebuy feature, randomization of spawn points, cl_interp command (which unfairly allowed some players to shoot and hit players after seeing them, even when they have disappeared around a corner) and projectile boosting. Valve also took away increased wall penetration of bullets that was occurring only on Linux-based servers, a controversial move since many players have expressed their preference for such penetration and were hoping it was to be added as a feature for all servers. On the bright side, Valve also improved the competitive matchmaking algorithm so wait times are shortened for most players.

CS:GO unofficial magazine, de_fuser, released Issue 5 and Issue 6 in the past month. The free online magazine, made by an enthusiastic fan, is filled with the latest news and highlights from the CS:GO competitive gaming scene, pretty pictures and useful gameplay tips and strategies. de_fuser Issue 7 is expected to be published this week.

From the videos department, we’re featuring 3 videos from the top commentators and video makers of CS:GO.

CS:GO caster and commentator, War Owl, just posted a narration of a match between Russian CS:GO team Virtus.pro against mousesports, a team of Germans were very competitive against CS:GO world champions Ninjas in Pyjamas (team NiP) in another recent match. The game was played on map de_mirage and War Owl commentates on the 36 minutes of gameplay well despite voice problems. Team Mousesports (pronounced mouse-sports) from Germany is definitely a team to watch as they may have the potential to overthrow NiP’s current 5 month reign in the competitive CS:GO scene.

Russian CS:GO strategy maker, CSGOWorld, also released a video this year focusing on ways to using the M4A4 gun in the game more accurately in a variety of conditions (close and long range, recoil patterns, etc). While seasoned players may huff at such a video, I think this video is incredibly helpful for newcomers to Counter-Strike GO and is definitely one to watch.

I’ll end This Month In: Counter-Strike GO on a lighter note with a recent hilarious video by UK-based Hatton Games, where he clutches a win for the round in de_dust2 by himself, in a 1 vs 5 situation, all while playing a guitar and singing. In a later video, he proves that his guitar strumming and singing happen in real-time during the game, making us wonder how many hands he’s got to be using a keyboard, mouse AND a guitar while gaming.

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