An Australian Counter-Strike Global Offensive player and streamer has had his prayers answered, after Valve dipped into their legendary bag of "one-time" gestures.
It was only three weeks ago when Peter Souvlis, one of the more veteran players in the Australian CS:GO scene, was streaming and playing matchmaking games with viewers. Souvlis has been doing this for a fair while, so it's wasn't too unusual for him to get messaged by strangers.
So when he was given the IP of a TeamSpeak server to join, he didn't think twice. After all, competitive players have been using TeamSpeak, Mumble, Ventrilo and Skype for years: joining IPs is almost part and parcel of any good FPS on PC.
When he tried to join the IP, TeamSpeak came up with a prompt asking to update. Sure, Souvlis thought — TeamSpeak updates are issued fairly regularly. Problem was, it wasn't a legitimate update but a script that allowed someone to trade all the items within his Steam account.
Souvlis says he lost between $8000 to $10,000 worth of CS:GO items and skins (the variation is down to market value on the day). It's not an uncommon tactic, with a user posting chat logs on Imgur a few weeks back highlighting the mentality of people who embark on such scams.
The prospects for people who get scammed aren't good. Valve's official FAQ says the economy of the market would be too adversely affected if they were to simply re-gift items to users who were scammed. "If more copies of the item are added to the economy through inventory rollbacks, the value of every other instance of that item would be reduced."
"We sympathize with people who fall victim to scams, but we provide enough information on our website and within our trading system to help users make good trading decisions. All trade scams can be avoided."
But as was the case with refunding games many moons ago, Valve has quietly done a 180. Souvlis confirmed this evening that Valve, after weeks of waiting with Steam Support, has agreed to refund and reinstate every single item that was lost in the scam.
"As a one-time customer service gesture, I have reversed the actions that were committed while your account was compromised," the email sent to Souvlis from Valve reads. "Any Community Market listings that you had listed were also removed and returned to your inventory. We will not restore stolen items again."
The support email tells Souvlis to install free anti-malware software and review Steam's account security FAQ. "To further protect your account, you will be unable to trade or use the Community Market for a period of time."
It's a feel-good ending to the disturbing reality of streaming and investing deep into CS:GO or Dota 2 — someone will try to scam you. It's nice to see Valve are prepared to help out — but it also raises an eyebrow, much like refunds did years ago, as to whether the system Valve has in place is the best one for the market and the wider Steam community, and whether Teamspeak themselves can do more to shore up their service from malicious folk.