Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO, is one of the most popular multiplayer first-person shooter games in the world. It’s also a highly successful esports title, with dozens of big tournaments each year and a thriving professional scene that includes hundreds of teams.
In this CS:GO beginner’s guide, I will take you through the basics of CS:GO and why it’s a great game – not just on its own, but also within the context of esports.
CS:GO was first released in 2012. While it did have some initial setbacks, it was ultimately embraced by the entire Counter-Strike community and is now by far the biggest game in town for the Counter-Strike franchise. Tens of millions of people have played CS:GO, and on average, the game has over 400,000 concurrent players at any given time. This number is comparable to that of Dota 2, which has a community of 10 million active players, so CS:GO most likely has the same amount.
CS:GO was developed by Valve in association with Hidden Path Entertainment. Valve is one of the best companies in the gaming industry, so the support the game receives is world-class. Because of this, it’s likely that we’ll see the game continue to grow for many years to come.
The Counter-Strike franchise has been around for 20 years. Many aspects of the game have changed during this time, but the fundamentals are still the same. If you like a highly mechanical and strategic FPS, and if you want to join that community as a casual gamer, a streamer, or even an esports athlete, you will feel welcomed here.
CS:GO Beginner’s Guide
CS:GO is played in a team vs. team format, with five players on each side, and is played on a variety of maps. Each map is unique and has numerous elements that need to be mastered in order to succeed. In that sense, CS:GO is similar to Overwatch, and is a great fit for people with great spatial intelligence, precise aim, and good timing.
The goal of the game is to be the first to reach 16 round victories. Each round consists of roughly two minutes of skirmishes between the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. The goal of the Terrorists is to plant a bomb and ensure it explodes, or simply kill all of the Counter-Terrorists.
The battle revolves around the teams’ maneuvers around the map, as one team is trying to prevent the other from planting a bomb. The CTs need to guard two key map points, A and B, where the bomb can be planted. At the start of a round, two CT players generally go to A and two or even three others go to B. The situation is always dynamic, though, as the two teams seek to establish map control, find out what their opponent is doing, and then outsmart them using the equipment they have.
One thing that makes CS:GO different from other FPS titles is the monetary resources. Based on what happens in each round, the two teams receive more or less money as a reward. This amount can accumulate up to $16,000 but gets reset twice per map (before the first round and the 16th). Of course, the team that wins has a significant advantage, especially during the first rounds when money is scarce for both sides. It is quite common in CS:GO for teams to go either 3 – 0 or 0 – 3 as a result of the first, or pistol, round. The monetary difference allows the winners to buy much better equipment and overpower the opposition with sheer strength.
After the first 15 rounds, the Terrorists become Counter-Terrorists and vice versa. The game gets reset in order to give the teams the chance to play as the other side. This is important because some maps offer a slight advantage to either the T side or the CT side.
If the score is tied at the end (15 – 15), most CS:GO games (at least at the professional level) will include overtime rounds until one of the teams wins. These rounds come in sets of six.
To get a better understanding of this CS:GO beginner’s guide, watch a professional CS:GO match on Twitch, or play the game yourself for a few hours and see how it feels. The community might be naughty or even toxic at times, but the game itself will not disappoint you.