Valve recently brought the hammer down on custom Counter-Strike servers that don't fall within a set of very specific guidelines. It's a big change to the game's ecosystem, and many players don't think it's for the better. In a post on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's official site, Valve announced the following rules:
We're aware that some server operators are offering to their players false inventories and/or profiles as a free or paid service via mods on their servers. These mods inaccurately report the contents of a player's inventory and/or matchmaking status, devaluing both and potentially creating a confusing experience for players.
Therefore, we are asking server operators to remove any mods and plugins that falsify the contents of a player's profile or inventory.
To be clear, the services that should not be offered on a community server include (but are not limited to):
— Allowing players to claim temporary ownership of CS:GO items that are not in their inventory (Weapon skins, knives, etc.).
— Providing a falsified competitive skill group and/or profile rank status or scoreboard coin (e.g., Operation Challenge Coins).
— Interfering with systems that allow players to correctly access their own CS:GO inventories, items, or profile.
This means pretty much all server mods that provide players with custom items of any sort (weapons, skins and so on) are not allowed.
For a portion of Counter-Strike's player base, this came as a huge shock. It's a move that stands to eliminate the possibility of more outlandish gametypes, given that players must now operate strictly within the confines of what Valve's accepted into Counter-Strike. While the game does have a Steam Workshop, it's only for maps. Players can contribute custom weapon skins to the game (which are accepted or refused at Valve's discretion), but non-cosmetic changes are a no-no.
As many players have pointed out, the original Counter-Strike was born of a mod that completely overhauled a pre-existing (albeit single-player) game, Half-Life. Meanwhile, Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source gave birth to popular overhauls like the Zombie Mod. Even in these dystopic modern futuretimes, Valve's own DOTA 2 has robust built-in support for custom gametypes. Counter-Strike players feel like they're getting the shortest possible end of the stick.
Of course, DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are very different games built on very different infrastructures, so it's doubtful that John Q Steamsman could walk down a hall and flip a switch (or twist a... never mind) to make it all squaresies. On top of that, DOTA 2's mod system is hardly the Wild West scenario a lot of CSGO players seem to be hearkening back to.
Still, I can't help but sympathise with CSGO players. While some of these custom servers were likely shady money-making operations or, as Valve said, mindless destroyers of the in-game economy, limits this strict are a bummer. There's a looming implication of, "Sure, you can try to make a crazy custom gametype, but you can only do so much and you might be breaking the rules and you know what, I just wouldn't risk it if I were you." It feels like Valve would have been better off creating a separate ecosystem for these types of things, rather than marking them as off-limits altogether. Here's hoping they take a look at all this, um, impassioned feedback and decide to sort out a better solution.