Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gamers have complained about cheaters since 2014. Instead of upgrading the FPS game‘s anti-cheat software, VAC or delivering a one-time solution, Valve has deployed a series of annual ban waves. The paywall update in 2021 did little to help solve the problem; CSGO hackers, it turned out, were pretty loaded – a lot of them could simply buy their way back in. With Counter-Strike 2’s release, there is some hope for a stronger anti-cheat solution. These hopes seem to be quashed by the CS2 trailers.
There has been a rumour and a leak about a Counter-Strike 2 anti-cheat. That said, there is high chance Counter-Strike 2 will have the same old VAC, so it’s not too late to lower your expectations and stick to third-party platforms.
Counter-Strike 2 is nothing without a new anti-cheat
Counter-Strike 2 is supposed be game-changing. However, cheaters are being reported by players as Counter-Strike 2’s beta test continues. It seems CSGO’s decade-old issue has returned in Valve’s shiny new shooter.
Hacking and cheating are common in multiplayer games. In 2021, Valve banned 304,655 cheaters in three months, illustrating how the lack of an active – or rather, proactive – watchdog can allow the problem to swell and spread. Valve doesn’t actively pluck out the hackers, meaning they get to wreak havoc until the arrival of a new ban wave.
The worst thing that has pushed players to third-party platforms, such as FACEIT, was not only the tick rate but also the poor performance of VAC. Now, Counter-Strike 2 has been released with three major changes regarding maps, smoke grenades, and the dreaded tick rate, but with regards to anti-cheat, the only hope we have is some minor print at the bottom of Valve’s announcement.
“The Limited Test only evaluates a subset of Counter-Strike 2’s features so that major issues can be resolved before the summer. But there’s much more to come. In just a few months we’ll reveal all of the details of Counter-Strike 2,” Valve says.
If Valve had plans to overhaul its anti-cheat system in any significant way, they would have announced it by now. It’s starting to feel like Counter-Strike 2 may use the same, or at least a very similar form of VAC that we’ve encountered already in CSGO. If that’s the case, it will be a real disappointment for fans looking forward to games on the Valve official servers.
Counter-Strike 2 offers better visuals, responsive smoking, and even visible legs. The shooter could become frustrating if it doesn’t have a better anti-cheat. As much as we want to enjoy all the shiny new features, the truth is that nothing else really matters if you can’t play fair. For healthy competition, serious players will continue to turn to ESEA and FACEIT. Matchmaking might become a breeding ground to trolls who make funny YouTube videos.
Counter-Strike 2 will have new anti-cheat features
Data miners have found clues in CS2 limited testing spaghetti code. This suggests tweaks to VAC, but not a complete overhaul. A new feature called VAC Live may work to detect third-party software in real-time, instantly cancelling matches if a cheater is detected, similar to Riot’s Vanguard system in Valorant. That sounds like something, but the issue with VAC Live is that it’s still, fundamentally, VAC. If Live detects cheaters using the same methods as ever, don’t expect a lot of cancelled matches in CS2 – the hackers will still be getting away with it.
If, however, Valve makes VAC Live more invasive, with better access to players’ CS2 info, there’s a sliver of hope for MM beasts. While an invasive anti-cheat will raise concerns about privacy, personally I’d sacrifice a little more player data if it meant ridding my game of cheaters. Most serious CSGO players gravitate towards FACEIT anyway – a similar program for official matchmaking would be welcomed with open arms.
While it’s unlikely Valve will announce any more major changes, it never hurts to remain optimistic and keep those fingers crossed for an anti-cheat upgrade. Keep in mind all Counter-Strike 2 maps that have been confirmed thus far. Some of these maps are being completely rebuilt using Source 2.
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