Crate Expectations: CS: GO Getting TF2 Style Drops

I have a recurring nightmare: I’m sat at my desk and everything is soft-focus and great. I feel happy, and turn to say as much to my girlfriend. But she’s not there. It’s Gabe Newell, who is definitely not my girlfriend, and he’s using one of those old school accounting machines. On the floor is a pile of paper that he gathers up and hands to me, saying: “In Half-Life 2, destroyed 1200 crates. This is your bill.” And I say I don’t have that kind of money, then I wake up crying. I don’t think Valve would retroactively charge me for opening crates, but then I didn’t imagine that their strangely popular unlock system that drives both Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 would end up in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But that looks like it’s going to happen.

The information was uncovered by Redditor wickedplayer494 , who dug into a recent update and found crates, keys, and skins. What’s all that about then? Well, according to the official Counter-Strike Twitter account, they’ve been working on an update “to help build up prize pools at competitive CS:GO events.”One of those crate and key combos is labelled “E-Sports”, which would suggest this is Valve’s method of gathering up the funds to build the aforementioned prize pool. But there are non e-sports crates as well, so I’m guessing there will be regular purchases as well.

All the items listed are cosmetic, which is good because you don’t want to mess with that stuff in Counter-Strike. That said, I always hated that teams could dress up in different clothing, because the millisecond it took to parse is enough to get me killed. Lord knows what will happen when I see someone with a fancy molotov.



  1. pupsikaso says:

    Not so long ago the community was free to create their own skins for weapons, even sound packs, and use them in CS.
    Now Valve charges money for it.

    • andk7 says:

      I think you can still make them.

      • subedii says:

        link to

        Not sure if that works on official servers. I believe they work on community servers, but not official ones. I imagine they also work on LAN.

        In online games on official servers though… OK so I remember the days of UT and custom models and custom skins. They were fun and all, but in a competitive game like CS I can easily see hacked skins causing major issues in all sorts of ways.

        • Baines says:

          Years ago, some friends invited me to a LAN FPS session, though I don’t remember the game. They used custom skins that blended in with the shadowed areas of the stages that they played on. It certainly gave them an advantage.

          2D fighting games have apparently had similar issues with color customization features, where some people realized they could set all colors to the same value. The character doesn’t blend into the background or anything, but you lose all detail within the character, so you end up fighting a silhouette. I do recall disagreement over whether it was easier or harder to fight a silhouette. There was also the “obnoxious color” option, where you chose a color scheme specifically to mess with your opponent.

    • Dana says:

      You mean community is still free to create those, but now they get paid for them.

      • HadToLogin says:

        So, we don’t have problems with Horse Armor and Bacon Skins (CoD) as long as it’s Valve?

        Because Valve will be selling their own stuff too…

        • kickme22 says:

          The issue with the Horse Armor was that it cost what…10 dollars? (It was something absurdly high) Your complaining is sort of like hating Bethesda for releasing Skyrim DLC (even though anyone can still mod skyrim)

          • HadToLogin says:

            If it were $10, you would be right. But according to google, “On April 3rd, 2006, Bethesda Game Studios released the first DLC for the game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, charging $2.50 for access to an item called “Horse Armor.””

            $2.50 – same as TF2 crate key from Valve in-game shop.

            So, back to square one – we love Horse Armor as long as it is from Valve?

    • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

      Not quite the case, Valve is curating the best community made content and making it available to everyone. This rewards the community members for supporting the game AND allows your cosmetics to viewable to your friends, not just your own perspective.

      If you want to mod or skin your game, that is still possible, and even easier now since the Workshop is integrated into Steam.

  2. iGark says:

    Cool. Doesn’t hurt anybody, and the people who enjoy it can have fun with it.

  3. bear912 says:

    Yuck. For some reason.

    It shouldn’t be a big deal if it’s all cosmetic, but it still feels like messing with the purity of the game a bit. It’s a bit irrational for me to feel this uneasy about it, really, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do.

    Building the prize pools for tournaments and such is a nice side-effect, though, if that’s really a thing that will happen.

    • subedii says:

      Building the prize pools for tournaments and such is a nice side-effect, though, if that’s really a thing that will happen.

      I don’t see why not. The International’s prize pool was MASSIVELY expanded doing this.

      • bear912 says:

        … and really, I’m probably just having a knee-jerk reaction to what will likely be a benign addition.

    • Maltose says:

      I agree; Planetside 2 has this problem. The vanilla colors for the three factions are red, purple, and blue, which works well (unless you’re colorblind, I assume). But many of the skins sold by the game don’t follow the faction color theme, which can make differentiating between friend and foe (especially in close quarters when you can easily lose track of your opponent) difficult to do instantly. Hopefully, Valve can avoid this problem, although I assume serious tournaments will ban the use of skins.

  4. nimzy says:

    Well I guess this means that a Warcraft mod for CSGO is now not just a possibility but an inevitability at this point.

    • KirbyEvan says:

      If you’re referring the the old CS:S Warcraft mod, then it already has been on CS:GO for quite a long time, and there are dedicated servers for it.

  5. Kollega says:

    Who else thinks that this is another step by Valve towards selling hats in every game they release, and that it’s a fundamentally bad thing? Remember, they even put a hat store into Portal 2 for no adequate reason.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but i hate being nickel-and-dimed in the process of playing my favourite game. Especially when it’s not actually nickels and dimes, but several dollars per item. In my country, one dollar can buy me three buns of bread, and with modern pricing, for ten dollars i can buy a new indie game or an AAA game that was on sale. So asking that much for a single virtual hat is ridiculous no matter how you look at it.

    • hunsnotdead says:

      In case of Portal 2, if you dont click on the enrichment button, youll never know there are customisation options. Also they are totally useless. TF2/DOTA2 weapons and items are not!

      • arccos says:

        Unless I’m missing something else, the Dota 2 items are all cosmetic. There is no way to get any gameplay advantage at all through cosmetic items.

        I think the only thing they’ve sold so far that isn’t a cosmetic is The International Compedium, which was more of a fantasy league system with a fewextras (a different cosmetic courier, a different color interface overlay, and an increased chance at cosmetic drops)

        • Shepardus says:

          That’s right, Dota 2 doesn’t sell anything that has any gameplay effect, just cosmetics, announcer packs, courier skins, tickets to view tournaments from within the client, etc.

    • subedii says:

      OK so serious question: How much did you spend in Portal 2’s “store”?

      How much of what (if anything) that you bought was actually gameplay-centric as opposed to completely cosmetic?

      Heck, leaving aside the really spurious example of Portal 2 (and the reason I say that is because I’m pretty much 99% certain that not only did you not spend anything in Portal 2’s store, you pretty likely didn’t miss it either, and wouldn’t have even noticed otherwise if those items were simply completely missing), I’ll happily take that question and apply it to DOTA 2, a game specifically BUILT from the ground up to be F2P. To me nickel and diming is when I feel that core gameplay features have been left out, to be sold later at additional cost. Which I can’t say has happened at all with DOTA because I have the same footing in DOTA 2 as someone that’s spent $Ridiculous. They just happen to have a different Donkey.

      Getting back to Portal 2, Valve had a very REAL ability to do some serious nickel and diming with it simply by way of releasing additional paid level packs and content. And nobody would have batted an eyelid if they had. What they did instead was create an extremely intuitive and functional custom level designer. Which despite being something that would have taken a lot of effort to create, they released for free. And tied this to their new Workshop interface to create a completely seamless means of creating and publishing levels for the entire community. For free.

      And they even released a trailer for it.

      Sorry, but I have an exceptionally hard time with calling Nickel and Diming on Portal 2. What they did with it is more than most major developers do when you PAY them. Similar with DOTA 2 for that matter.

      • KevinLew says:

        Portal 2 is one of my favorite games, but even I can’t deny that seeing the Enrichment Center in Portal 2 was really strange. Cosmetic items make sense if the game has a large multiplayer community that sticks around for a long time. After a time, long-time players like a little customization as it makes their characters feel more personal. But nobody was going to play Portal 2 for years on end, so it comes off looking like a blatant cash-grab.

        • subedii says:

          And yet here we are, over 2 years later, and there are literally thousands of people playing Portal 2 every day, even now. And that’s largely owing to Valve releasing a free and intuitive level creation and publishing suite, and tying it all to a hosting back end immediately accessible to the community. None of which is any kind of small feat, even the most earnest of developers rarely if ever get that far.

          Yeah, I despise how Valve have nickle and dimed everyone, turning Portal 2 into such a blatant cash grab.

          If I sound needlessly sardonic, it’s because I was tired of the whole rage about Valve betraying the community back when Portal 2 first launched, right from the point where angsty fanboys started review-bombing it on meta-critic and Amazon for Valve being so clearly despicable.

          Truly righteous and wholly warranted behaviour in the face of such wickedness.

  6. hunsnotdead says:

    Inb4 Free to Pay

    Terrorism has never been more fashionable.

    Bitcoin has nothing on TF2/DOTA2/CSGO keys. Im waiting for the day it takes the place of national currencies.

  7. angrym0b says:


    Really though, what is all this crate crap about? I was playing Dota 2 the other day (it was horrific, won’t be doing that again) and I got a crate. What am I meant to do with it? PAY for a key to open it? Sod that. It can be Schrödinger’s cosmetic for all I care.

    That being said, if the only way I can get a silenced M4 and USP on CS:GO is to become a crate whore, I’m there, giving out hand-jobs behind McDonald’s for just one more key.

    • The Random One says:

      Sell it on the market for a penny. That’s a penny more than what it’s worth.

    • Fazer says:

      It’s a way for the free game to become profitable. As said, if you don’t like them, you can sell, trade, delete or ignore them.

  8. Ernesto25 says:

    Sigh, it shouldn’t ruin the balance etc like tf2 but its pretty ridiculous and i hope f2p doesn’t happen but it does feel inevitable now.

  9. Dowr says:

    Complain about the “purity” of the game all you want, this is still just cosmetic stuff that has no affect on the game.

    And before anyone claims that this update will result in a more unpleasant player base (oh, sorry, “community”), Counter-Strikes player-base is already horrible, like every online player-base.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      TF2 was fine before f2p on the whole to paraphrase a cliche “some online communities are more tolerant than others”. Well i hope valve lets me turn them off.

    • arccos says:

      I’ve been playing CS:GO for a few months now, and I haven’t had any problems with the community at all. What kind of issues have you been having?

      The only way to really screw up your team is playing hardcore mode and team-killing.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        I have played it for a while and usually tkling or a load of people being angry, i gave up on source due to this.CSS was horrendous so i find GO not that bad in competitive matchmaking at least I think cs.go gets the rep form css but in my experience sc2 and moba communities are far worse than any cs communities i have been a part of.

      • Dowr says:

        What issues have I been dealing with?

        Constant complaints of “hacking”, being refereed to has a “camper” when I’m Terrorist (the whole point of T’s is to camp and therefore defend!). Claims that I’m “trying to hard” (what a fucking stupid thing to say). English twats telling me to shut up simply because I’m Northern Irish and other, non-personal observations of racism and sexism.

        • Ernesto25 says:

          I assume as a terro you were playing hostage maps? Just block them its easier.

          • Svardskampe says:

            It would be nice though if you could let those kids feel pain through the keyboard in some way.

  10. Jimmy says:

    Even if it is going towards prize pools, it sounds like the greasing of the slope for further monetisation, like the trading cards, which I have heard is essentially free money. I wonder if they have patented this magnificent creator of wealth without consequences.

    It seems everything is moving towards the bottom floor model of microtransactions. It is probably economically inevitable like the great gods who decided we would all have 16:9 resolutions for writing word documents. That is great for the trackmanias of this world but irritating when games you have bought/subscribed move to this model.The indie scene will benefit, of course, like some sort of creative high-tech subculture among the decadent filth.

    • Baines says:

      Trading cards certainly seems to be free money for Valve, as the main way to “trade” them is to sell them on Steam’s Marketplace, where Valve gets a cut of every sale. Valve promised adding some kind of trading hub, but I don’t believe they ever delivered on that promise (unless it is in beta).

      • Moraven says:

        If this was any other company, they would be getting more attention on this part. They are essentially making a game economy outside a game. Make virtual economy, add one-way currency exchange for real money into the system, take cut of any transaction.

        And Blizzard got crap for offering something useful in the RMAH and a way to remove money from the system. (D3 suffered from crappy item design, people would sell items for real money either way).

        • emorium says:

          Are you joking with the Blizzard comparison? Even they admitted that RMAH was a mistake. The trading cards are completely optional and, most importantly, they don’t modify the game experience at all. And no, the RMAH is not optional since Blizzard also mentioned that item drop rates were created with the AH in mind.

          • HadToLogin says:

            “Only” bad thing about RMAH is that is was essence of D3, not addon. If Blizzard wouldn’t focus on making it most important part of whole system, with drops build around getting profit and all that stuff, then nobody would get angry that they don’t need to make paypal account to sell few millions of gold.

        • darkChozo says:

          People were mad at the RMAH because it was useful; it affected game balance because you could buy your way into late-game power, and it’s possible that the non-paying experience was altered with that in mind.

          If you think trading cards are stupid, there’s literally no game-affecting reason to get involved with them, and precious little reason out of game (expanded friends list and the potential to profit are the only non-cosmetic upsides to the system). If Valve changes it so you can, say, buy some fancy new TF2 weapon with trading cards, then there’ll be an issue, but not until then.

          • Jimmy says:

            In truth, the trading cards are not more than a minor annoyance that can be ignored. It is just that eventually every other game is now full of reminders to buy hats and DLC. As the RPS man said, looking at those hats or whatever you get is annoying too, as it takes another few milliseconds to identify other players (e.g. the new chivalry update). And….. I prefer steam as a container or platform rather than yet another (meta-)game.

            Every successful service you utilise in the commercial sphere eventually becomes an efficient portal for pushing more goods. It is just the rule of market capitalism. Even the hats themselves will probably soon feature commerical logos, allowing you to gain new cards, etc…

          • Baines says:

            Don’t forget the other impacts of the RMAH, such as justification for the “always online” component that made players victims of lag even in single player, as well as speculation that Blizzard planned drop rates around the idea of people using the auction houses.

      • Derpa says:

        Like how people only talk about Valve’s cut of the sale but never that the Dev’s of the game also get a cut.

  11. The Random One says:

    By the way, that was an excellent headline pun you dropped there.

  12. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    The obvious way to prevent any problems is allowing players to choose whether to display other player’s cosmetic stuff or not. And in tournaments they would obviously not be allowed.

    Like others, I feel uncomfortable by this and I think it is uncalled for, but if handled right it shouldn’t become a problem in any way.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Hey, RPS, I wrote “Crate Expectations” already, stop stealing my material :P

    link to

  14. ch4os1337 says:

    A correction for the editor:

    The weapons pictured are NOT COSMETIC, they have new stats like in TF2. This becomes obvious once you realise they have suppressors attached but for indepth analysis go here. link to

    • HadToLogin says:

      Quoting someone from there: “m4a4 : 30 bullets 3100$
      m4a1-s : 20 bullets 3000$ + silencer
      edit : according to the description, the m4a1-s also has a lower recoil and a better accuracy.”