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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Update Locks Ranks Behind A Paywall

If you’re hoping to have access to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Ranks, drops, or Skill Groups, you’ll now have to purchase Prime Status for $14.99. Valve today announced that any new players will still have access to every game mode and the ability to play on community servers, but access to Ranks will be restricted in an attempt to curb “bad actors.”

Along with the changes comes a new Unranked mode, which provides all players access to Competitive, Wingman, and Danger Zone using skill-based matchmaking. However, you won’t be eligible to earn a Skill Group or XP. Players used to be able to earn Prime Status in-game for free – reach a certain level and Prime Status was automatically added to your account – but Valve now requires players to purchase the upgrade through Steam.

“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,” Valve announced. “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.

“New players can still play every game mode, play on community servers, and play workshop maps. However, they will no longer receive XP, Ranks, drops, or Skill Groups; those features are now exclusively available to Prime Status players.”

Counter-Strike is the long-standing champion of Steam, consistently ranking as the most played game on the platform with nearly 1,000,000 million concurrent players most times of the day. Hacking and cheating have become a major problem for the game – something that any game with millions of players is bound to come up against. Whether these changes will actually deter “bad actors” is unknown, and its unfortunate new free-to-play players will lose access to Ranks.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available for free on Steam, with Prime Status running you $14.99.

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