Prime Matchmaking Lacks Promise

Valve recently made an update to their matchmaking system for CS:GO. My first impressions were optimistic. Now...

Valve recently made an update to their matchmaking system forCS:GO. Players now have the option to enlist in a “PrimeAccount beta”. My first impressions were optimistic – Valvefinally took a new approach to cleaning their PUG system. Now thatits emblem has been stuck on my home screen for half a month I haveharsher opinions to relate.

It is difficult to imagine how this type of anti-cheat approachcould be effective. In a way, linking accounts to phone numbersonly affects the consequences of cheating. As it seems, the updatedoes not provide any changes to VAC. So, cheaters should be able touse the same tools that worked before. Granted, graver consequencessupport the assumption that fewer people will take the risk. Ifthat really is the goal, why doesn’t Valve change something morepragmatic? For example, one could ban people across all games, evenif the user only cheated in one of Valve’s programs. So, theupdate seems ineffective as a solution.

Usually, anti-cheating updates lead to a week or two ofmatchmaking serenity and cheaters have to wait for the necessaryupdates to avoid VAC risks. Unfortunately, the introduction ofPrime matchmaking will not provide a safe period. Moreover, therewill be more cheaters at the start of Prime. Who wouldn’t love toreap the sadistic pleasures of decimating unsuspectingmatchmakers?

The timing of Prime’s announcement was terrible. We see pro PUGqueues form games out of 10-20 player queues. Most of the people Iplay CS with signed up on the first day so I think we can assumethat at least a few thousand players enlisted after 2 weeks. Whyare we still waiting? All we need to start testing are 10 people!There are no positive aspects to waiting. Rather, the delayssuggest that Valve opened the registration before preparingrequired infrastructure. Cheaters can use the time to organizenumbers from friends or family and thus throw-away accounts willstill be abundant, nullifying any progress.

Some people might say these suggestions are too demanding.After all, Valve never said that Prime would prevent cheating.However, cheating is CS:GO’s most pressing issue. It attacksthe mechanism by which Valve attracts most new players. One canminimize the issue by avoiding the subject as a community. Ifnobody knows, nobody cares. I dislike this option because itpromotes self-destruction. So, the cheating problem’s urgencydemands priority and this update falls short under thatmeasurement.

Recent updates do not promise to solve cheating issues. Primematchmaking beta suggests to be yet another illusion ofprogress.

If you have anything to add to the subject contact me onTwitter @MartinStuessy.