Counter-Strike goes free to play and adds a new Battle Royale mode

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has dropped a big one on us this morning. It was announced that the popular First Person Shooter would be going Free-to-play and that a brand new Battle Royale mode would be introduced.

We are now entering the Danger Zone. After days of teasers from CSGO dev on Twitter, the announcement came that was both unexpected and met with mixed reactions. While it is no new operation, the new Danger Zone game mode is Counter-Strike‘s answer to the Battle Royale genre. It was also launched with a brand new Danger Zone weapon case.

Danger Zone

So far players can play Danger Zone solo, in a duo or in a squad of three. 10-minute matches will consist of 16-18 players. You will drop onto the small and shrinking Blacksite map and begin gathering equipment and cash. Breaking open containers will give you weapons and supplies. Different levels of containers require certain things to open them with such as safes requiring C4. Rescuing hostages and taking out high-value targets will also grant you some cash bonuses. Using your tablet you can use your cash to buy extra gear to strengthen your loadout, delivered via drones. Paradrops can also provide you with extra supplies but watch your map because other players might after it too.

Until January 9th, Prime accounts that earn 250 XP in Danger Zone will be rewarded with a Souvenir MP5-SD | Lab Rats. Earning XP can be done by looting, getting kills and surviving the Danger Zone. The rest of the new weapon skins from the Danger Zone case are also available to Prime accounts. As another thank you gift from Valve, those that have played in the last 5 years prior to this update, will also receive a loyalty badge.

New CSGO Danger Zone case weapon skins
New CSGO Danger Zone case and weapon skins. Source: Twitter

Free-to-play

One of the bigger surprises was that CSGO is now free on Steam, which has raised some concerns from players. A big problem with the game already is the number of hackers you encounter. While it might be annoying in a casual game, in competitive it means you can say goodbye to your rank. The implementation of the Prime accounts, requiring a linked phone number, was a step in the right direction. However, all accounts that owned CSGO before this update have all automatically been upgraded to prime. So any existing hackers now have access to matchmaking with the rest of us.

Going free means that the game can bring in a boatload of new players which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, this also means that the amount of smurf and hacking accounts will also skyrocket. These accounts may not have access to Prime matchmaking right off the bat but if you don’t want to attach a phone number or get to rank 21, you can just buy a status upgrade for $19.50 AU.

Many players who have expressed concern on social media have been met with responses from eSports personalities and analysts that remind us we don’t yet know that the outcome will be negative. At this stage, we can embrace the fact that Valve is still invested in Counter-Strike and try out the new Battle Royale mode. Let us know what you think of the new update and the new skins.