It has been years since Valve last touched on the matter of players banned from their sponsored Counter-Strike events. Finally, this changed last week, as Valve introduced changes to its guidelines affect the next Major and its qualifying process.
These new changes aren’t light, and will impact the game in the long-run. So, what does this new change brings, and what does it means for CSGO?
Announced in a blog post, Valve announced that if a player received a VAC ban BEFORE they played in a Valve-sponsored tournament, and if this ban is five years old or older, then they would be eligible to play in Valve’s circuit once again.
Players can get banned by Steam’s VAC anti-cheating system if they join a protected server while using any cheating software. Profiles banned are left with a public message on them, showing that the user was banned and for how long the ban has been active.
Moreover, the RMR system is now much bigger than in the past before the pandemic. While in the past, Valve limited the Major system to include only qualifiers, Minors and the Major itself, now any tournament could turn out to be a Valve-sponsored event that counts as part of the qualification process for the Major.
This change immediately brings some players up to light. Brazilian 21-years-old “v$m” and Finnish 19-years-old “Jamppi” both were VAC banned in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Now, both can play on Valve tournaments once again.
Before the new guidelines went out, the two aforementioned players were still able to play on professional tournaments. V$M did great during his time in MiBR last year, and Jamppi quickly climbed the Finnish scene. Ãlso, ztr, a talent playing for Young Ninjas, is catching many eyes within the Swedish scene.
However, the ban affected these three players. V$M, while talented, would hold any team he was part of from reaching the big stage. Jamppi went as far as starting a lawsuit against Valve, and also ended his CSGO career, moving to VALORANT.
Once the new rules were announced, though, players sent positive reactions to it in social networks. While Jamppi will not be returning to CSGO as he already has a career in VALORANT, V$M is now a very interesting option for Brazilian teams.
As for ztr, he will be able to continue playing for Young Ninjas. Now, he knows that his efforts might led him to play on the biggest CSGO tournaments.
Overall, a total of 25 players were unbanned as result of the new guidelines.
Of course, such change wouldn’t go unnoticed by critics. While many were happy for V$M and Jamppi, others criticized Valve’s decision. After all, we’re talking about a sensitive matter within esports: cheating.
Both players cheated in the past – while they were underage, and the Counter-Strike scene was a different beast back then. Still, is this enough reason for forgiving them? Shouldn’t VAC bans be definitive punishments?
Moreover, this raises the question if Valve should revisit iBuyPower’s case once again. The infamous match-fixing scandal from 2014 still is discussed today. Now, fans wonder if the players involved with the case shouldn’t also be unbanned from Valve’s circuit. After all, it has been over six years since the incident.
Nonetheless, the new rules have opened many debates for similar cases in CSGO. After all, this is the first time that Valve introduced rule changes that lifted bans from CSGO players. Who should and shouldn’t be unbanned is now a trending topic in the scene.
Immediately, the biggest impact of this change will happen within the Brazilian CSGO scene, of course. V$M is now a valuable player to up-and-coming projects, and could be a key player in such team success.
In the long-run, however, there’s more to it. We are aware of players that stopped their CSGO careers very early as they found themselves in the same situation as V$M and Jamppi.
Previously, these players were hard picks for organizations. Getting such player in their ranks meant that not all pieces of their teams would be eligible to play in a Major. Still, in the past, teams like Cloud9 and ENCE brought banned players to their teams as the Major circuit wasn’t as a big, but with the new RMR format, it simply isn’t viable to bet on a banned player.
With the new RMR system, any tournament could be sponsored by Valve. Having a compromised player means that your team isn’t able to have a definitive five-starting-players lineup. Due to this, no matter how great the player might be, the setback brought by them just didn’t made sense.
Now, this change will allow players in such situation to keep working to climb up the rankings. After all, they will be aware that they have a second-chance at a fruitful career as long as they don’t repeat their mistakes from the long past. This should give a small boost to regions constantly losing players, such as North America.
CSGO is almost a ten-year-old game by now, and many rules for Valve’s Major circuit were established earlier on. This means that many guidelines aren’t updated as they should, and as cases such as Jamppi’s come to light touching on these older, untouched rules, Valve will have to do more and more changes.
Moreover, CSGO isn’t the sole game in its genre as it was almost ten years ago. With VALORANT and other games rising, CSGO is facing competition in a way it hadn’t seen before. Keeping guidelines updated in a way that rules doesn’t hurt the game growth is a must nowadays.