Getting Into CSGO: A Newbie’s Guide

CSGO, one of the biggest FPS esports on the market, has been out for quite a long time. As a complex game with a meta that rarely evolves nowadays, it can be a bit tough to get into for a new player. While it may be a first-person shooter, a few idiosyncrasies make CSGO its own beast. Some skills you may have from other titles are transferable for sure. However, getting used to the more tactical aspects of the game as well as the behavior of its weapons will take a bit of time. The upside is that once the game clicks with you it can be extremely rewarding.

To nudge you into the right direction to carve out your own CSGO journey, we’ve put together this newbie’s guide so you can hit the ground running.

Start with Your Settings

This is the boring yet necessary step to take before starting out with CSGO. You can totally just jump in and figure this stuff out later but let’s get real; you’re going to eventually set yourself back. Getting your settings at least somewhat right from the get-go will contribute towards you learning the game faster because you’d be getting used to a single setup.

Start by considering your keybindings. Make sure that your Crouch is set to a key that you can hit reliably on a regular basis. Crouching has always been an important part of CSGO not only because it makes you a smaller target but also it helps with your aim. Hotkeys for fast buying are also important. As you learn the game, you’ll get familiar with the weapons you should be picking up at different stages. Grabbing them fast will allow you to focus quicker on the next round.

Next up is your mouse sensitivity and we won’t beat around the bush. This is going to be mostly down to preference but at the same time you can’t base it off of what you used in a run-and-gun game like CoD. CSGO is a slower-paced game where pinpoint accuracy is key. Most pro players have low sensitivity and mouse DPI and even if you’re not aiming for superstardom, it’s still a good reference point. Start with your DPI on your mouse’s software then lower the sensitivity in-game. It’s going to feel weird at first but once you get used to the slow settings it will pay dividends in the long run.

Before Diving into Competitive

Plunging yourself head-first into Competitive in CSGO isn’t something you can (or should) do right out the gate. For starters, the game bars you from doing so before you hit Private Rank 2. Second, you can really hamper your progress by placing yourself in a high-pressure competitive environment without some initial training. It’s one of those “learn to walk before you can run” kind of deals. Take things slow and start with some games of Deathmatch. You can either choose your own weapon or the game will assign you at spawn. In this mode, you’ll want to focus on developing your aim and managing recoil as well as getting to grips with the overall pace of the game.

Once you feel comfortable that you’re landing some good headshots and not getting stomped at every turn, you can progress to Retake mode. This feels more like playing an actual competitive scenario as you’re tasked with retaking a bomb-site. This mode will teach you what an actual post bomb planting situation feels like and the time pressure that comes with it. Spend some time learning entry paths and hiding positions here. Once you feel you’ve gotten it all down pat and your rank is where it needs to be, you’re ready to give Competitive a go.

Learn Shooting & Managing Recoil

What makes CSGO different from other FPS games is the way weapons behave. Sure, pretty much every shooty shooty game out there has weapons with recoil and a variety of intricacies. Here, though, the guns are designed to feel real in their behavior. The AK-47, for instance, is a very temperamental weapon that takes some time to reign in.

The first thing you need to learn is that in CSGO you can’t run-and-gun. In fact, it’s a surefire way to get yourself killed and, by extension, your team annihilated. The first order of business, therefore, is to kick the habit of running and shooting and instead, stopping at key moments to aim. Here’s where getting used to crouching is important as it improves your accuracy.

Once you’re used to standing still to go for the kill, you need to get acquainted with recoil management. Take your gun in a practice area and aim for a wall. Now, hold down fire and see what the spray pattern looks like. This should immediately tell you that spraying is a bad idea. In the same fashion, try firing short bursts while pulling down on your mouse to tighten up the spray. Your aim with this exercise is to keep the bullets as close together as possible. Do this with all the important guns and you should slowly see an improvement in your kill efficiency.

Develop Good Communication

CSGO is a tactical game that heavily relies on teamwork. Clutch 1v5 wins are epic to see happen but they’re rare and take a fair bit of concentration and skill to pull off. In a nutshell, victory in CSGO is a team effort. As such, good communication is important so you need to buck up and use your mic while playing this game.

The first thing you need to get down is your map knowledge. Load up some custom games without bots and take the walking tour to familiarize yourself with every nook and cranny. Learn the routes towards bomb sites from both spawn points as well as some of the more obvious hiding spots within each site.

Next up is calling out enemy positioning. CSGO is quite straightforward with bomb sites as they’re simply called A and B. The key to better communication in CSGO is how and when to call out what’s going on. Just because you heard a few footsteps near your holding position at A site doesn’t mean you should start calling “All at A”. Instead, assess how much noise you’re hearing and call it out as you see it. Just a simple “Noise at A” will suffice. Short and sweet is the name of the game.

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