Since the pandemic started, Valve, the developer behind the current CSGO iteration, have been under fire by the game’s community. The lack of communication and updates have been a constant complaint with fans.
However, the relationship between Valve and the CSGO community reached a new low point last week. A handy plugin for CSGO streamers was shut down by the company, and the decision wasn’t taken lightly by fans.
Before we go deeper on what is happening, let’s first understand what caused this whole situation.
Cheating has been one of CSGO’s biggest enemies since its launch years ago. Valve, of course, deployed various measures in order to combat it, but as with any game, it never went away.
Valve’s Anti-Cheat System has been criticized by many due to its inability to catch less obvious cheaters, so Valve also introduced another tool to combat cheating called Trust Factor.
Trust Factor, originally, only “ranked” your account credibility, and used such data during matchmaking. Trustworthy players would face other trustworthy players, for example. More recently, though, Valve updated the tool.
In this latest update, Trust Factor also blocks third-party software from interacting with the game. This broke streaming tools such as OBS, which forced streamers to use a certain command in game. This command would allow for such tools to be used, but at the same time it also “damages” their accounts reputability in Trust Factor.
Then, comes the plugin developed by GitHub user “luastoned”. The plugin would allow streamers to once again use OBS, a popular software used for streaming, without damaging their reputation with Trust Factor.
In less than a day after the plugin was launched, Valve’s John McDonald publicly posted on Reddit for the first time in three months. He announced that Valve was going to make the plugin non-functional. You can read his full post below:
According to John, the plugin used a loophole in CSGO’s code, and users that used the plugin could get banned from the game.
His answer is perfectly reasonable. After all, the plugin is using a flaw in order to work. This same flaw could also be used by malicious software in the future.
The issue isn’t with the answer itself, though. No player complained about Valve fixing the exploit from the game, but many were quick to give their opinions on Valve’s approach to CSGO in general since the pandemic, and how this answer is not what the community wanted to see.
Over the past years, Valve’s communication with the CSGO community has been a mixed bag. With the pandemic, though, it went downhill. Players don’t know what to expect from the company, and of course the future couldn’t be more uncertain.
When John McDonald replied to the plugin’s announcement, players were quick to answer. The most popular comment to his reply pinpoints how bad is the experience once one uses the aforementioned Trust Factor command:
Other comments bring to light the current cheating issue that Global Offensive is facing at the moment. Many influential individuals within the community have been reporting that cheating in Valve’s servers reached its worst point ever in the last few weeks.
Then, a key point was brought during the debate. The plugin that caused this whole discussion shouldn’t be needed. It’s up to Valve to make such things as streaming as easy as possible. At the very least, the experience recorded by users above shouldn’t happen.
As things stand at the moment, McDonald’s comment now has over 2.000 downvotes on Reddit. Furthermore, users kept bringing other complaints, such as unfixed bugs, the lack of reaction from Valve to known cheating methods and more.
Over the past couple of years, Valve has been implementing changes to their anti-cheat system. In fact, some of the latest posts by John McDonald are covering exactly this.
However, while Valve efforts are appreciated, they simply aren’t working. The AI-based approach clearly is taking its time to become effectful, and the overwatch program feels like an abandoned experiment.
Having this in mind, it’s to be expected that frustrated players took McDonald’s answer the wrong way. Many are asking why should players go through an awful experience in order to stream games, when cheaters might be able to completely circumvent Valve’s systems. Others might be thinking why is Valve acting against this, when there’s many other issues plaguing the game in various levels. All of those are valid complaints that apparently, are being ignored.
Closing the loophole used by the plugin was the right decision. After all, it’s an exploit, and if it had become popular, it could’ve caused a ban-wave of users that had no intention to cheat. Considering VAC’s use of deep learning in its systems, such ban-wave could definitely cause dangerous results.
Still, there’s many problems with CSGO raised by the community that are left unaddressed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that John McDonald, or any other Valve developer will be coming back to answer those for the time being.
So, this left a new bad impression of Valve. It’s hard to deny the possibility that this issue only got addressed so quickly because it could affect the entire VAC network, which isn’t exclusive to CSGO. Would we have seen such a quick answer if it were a CSGO only matter?
As we have seen in the past months, the answer is probably “no”. Players are dealing with a cheating issue that keeps getting worse. Streamers have an awful experience because of Trust Factor since last year. Esports professionals don’t know what Valve has in store for the game they work with. All these issues, and no signs of how Valve plans to address one of these, zero communication.
Over the past days, fans across various communities have been making threads and discussing what can be done in order to fix the glaring issues with the game. There’s many great ideas being share around social platforms, but so far, they are only ideas not acknowledged by Valve themselves.
Counter-Strike is always evolving, and in order to keep up with it, there’s no better way than following us!