CSGO players will now need to pay up to get drops and experience, and even play ranked and grind to Global Elite, after Valve confirmed new changes to the Prime Status system will force free-to-play players to cough up for the luxuries in a bid to stop “bad actors.”
Free-to-play players also got access to everything those who coughed up $15 USD, and could work towards getting their Prime Status for free.
However, Valve has leveled out the playing field, giving paying Prime Status players an edge over their free-to-play counterparts.
Players will no longer be able to earn Prime Status for free by grinding to Level 21 each season. Instead, if you want to get Prime Status, you’ll have to pay up.
On top of that, a lot of content is now being locked behind the Prime Status paywall. Non-Prime players will no longer receive experience, drops, ranks, or skill groups. You also need to pay to receive the yearly Service Medal.
The biggest change of the update, though, is to CSGO ranked play.
Non-Prime players will be thrown into “unranked” every time they queue up for competitive, or any game mode that would use skill-based matchmaking and ranks. Ranked queues will be exclusively for Prime players.
Today we're making adjustments to non-Prime accounts. We're also introducing Unranked matchmaking. Information about these changes can be found in today's Blog Post: https://t.co/W6m42EUTAH
— CS:GO (@CSGO) June 4, 2021
Valve cited “bad actors” abusing the system as the reason for the backflip.
“We see new players entering CS:GO all the time, and it’s as important as ever that anyone in the world can pick up and play the game for free,” they said in a June 3 blog post.
“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.”
The June 3 patch also removed the Scrimmage game mode, which has been replaced by Unranked, and can be used by both Prime and non-Prime players.