Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) has been a worldwide sensation with over 25 million monthly active players and a strong 20-year-old history in team=based FPS games, beginning with Counter-Strike 1.6, which was first released as a mod for half-life but with growing popularity ended up overtaking that game.
Released in August 2012, CSGO was a successful build-up to CS 1.6, after the iteration before it, CS Source, failed to make a mark. As mentioned above, tens of millions of people tune into CSGO servers every month to blow off steam and the high-adrenaline action-packed game can bring out the worst in some people, turning them into griefers, or even worst, cheaters.
Like several other popular online games, CSGO also has a system in place, called Overwatch, which regulates player’s behaviour and issues ban for those found guilty. Here is everything you need to know about Overwatch in CSGO, including how it works, how to get Overwatch (become an investigator) and what kind of penalties are issued.
Also read: How to rank up in CSGO?
What is Overwatch? How does it work?
Overwatch in CSGO is a review system, which is used to regulate players and issue bans — whenever necessary — using in-game replays. It uses reports by players to create a pool of cases that will then go on to be reviewed by Overwatch investigators, who are usually experienced gamers.
Investigators — including prospective ones being considered for the position — will see an active Overwatch button in the main menu, which will lead them to pending cases that they can evaluate.
These investigators then have to go through eight rounds of footage (roughly ten minutes) of in-game replays to ascertain the report and issue a temporary ban. Once the investigators collectively conclude that an offence occurred, a temporary ban is issued depending on the severity off the offence as well as the history of convictions in similar cases of the gamer in question.
There are two types of verdicts that the Overwatch investigators can arrive upon — Insufficient Evident or Evident Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. If your case gets the former verdict, then it’s closed and thrown out the window, but if it gets the latter one, you’ll probably be receiving a ban soon.
Also read: How to restore your Trust Factor in CSGO?
How to become an Overwatch investigator?
To begin with, you’ll need to play a lot of the official competitive matchmaking games to get Overwatch in CSGO or become an investigator.
Although investigators are randomly picked from a pool of people depending on their playtime and skill level, Steam takes into account the following factors when selecting a new Overwatch Investigator.
- Number of competitive wins.
- Age of the account.
- Number of hours played.
- Skill group of the player.
- Report count of the players (has to be low).
If you were an Overwatch investigator previously, your participation eleven and score, which determine the accuracy of the verdicts, will also be taken into account during re-selection.
To remain an Overwatch investigator, you’ll need to maintain an active skill group.
Overwatch investigators with a higher accuracy score and high level of activity get more cases to review, and their verdicts carry more weight too.
How are Overwatch investigators scored?
Overwatch investigators can also be added to the pool by Steam support. These investigators also receive XP reward based on the accuracy of their verdicts in recent cases, which also reflects in their Overwatch Investigator score. The rewards can be collected by completing matches in getting XP in any official game mode.
When an investigator’s verdict is in line with the majority decision in review cases, their score increases and when their verdict is in the minority, they get scored negatively. The change in investigator score is relatively more when you’re with the majority than when you’re in the minority.
According to Steam, the best way to improve your Overwatch Investigator score is to watch the entire replay of the case in hand and try to make an informed and accurate decision with the evidence provided.
What happens when you receive an Overwatch ban?
Overwatch usually issues bans to players found guilty of either griefing or cheating. Cases usually go for review on Overwatch after you’ve received either numerous reports over a long period, or there has been a sudden spike in reports. Since a lot of players receive reports in CSGO, the pattern of reports is also considered, and every case is taken relative to the reports patterns of the peers.
If you received a ban after an Overwatch review, it can’t be overturned by Steam Support or any other means — it’s there to stay.
Once your Steam account receives an Overwatch bank, it cannot be used to send items or games to a new account. Though, users can still purchase new games on a banned account and receive items too, but cannot send them.
Overwatch ban for Griefing
If you received a minor Overwatch ban, that’s for Griefing in-game. Minor bans last at least 30 days, during which period you won’t be able to play on VAC-secured servers or trade your CSGO items in the market.
A second minor Overwatch ban can result in a permanent ban on your account.
Overwatch ban for Cheating
If you’ve received a major Overwatch ban for cheating, there’s no going back as your account will be banned permanently, which means you won’t be able to play games on VAC-secured servers or trade your CSGO items, or access the market.
The only thing you can do is create a new account and start afresh.
Can you appeal Overwatch bans?
As mentioned before, Overwatch bans can’t be overturned, not even by Steam support.
According to Steam, “Because bans are only issued when Investigators unanimously agree on a conviction we are confident that applied Overwatch bans should remain. If even one Overwatch Investigator does not agree on a conviction, the Suspect will not receive a ban of any kind.”
So, overturning or even appealing an Overwatch ban is a strict no.
Also read: How to play music in-game in CSGO?