Rank Disparity in CS:GO explained

Rank Disparity in CS:GO explained




CS:GO has an incredible skill group ranking system, which players can use to see their progress and improvement in real time. It is obvious that players will have different ranks depending on their skill and commitment to the game, causing an unavoidable rank disparity. This article will talk about how and why there is a rank disparity and what limitations a difference in ranks can cause in a party.

Rank Distribution and Disparity in CS:GO

To understand the rank disparity in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we first need to understand the rank distribution that the game currently has. The current distribution of ranks in CS:GO can be seen in the graph below. For those of you who are not familiar with the ranking system in CS:GO, read our article on the ultimate ranking system guide.

Rank Distribution Graph

Though Valve has made efforts to re-balance the distribution of ranks through several rank updates, the player base still fails to achieve an even distribution in ranks.

Rank distribution graph

Instead of having a perfectly even percentage of players spread out through every rank, the CS:GO community is currently experiencing a distribution similar to a bell curve. 

RANKRANK ICONRANK DISTRIBUTION
Silver I (S1)
3.9%
Silver 2 CSGO (S2)
4.23%
Silver III (S3)
4.37%
Silver IV (S4)
5.21%
Silver Elite (SE)
6.44%
Silver Elite Master (SEM)
7.78%
Gold Nova I (GN1)
8.76%
Gold Nova II (GN2)
8.79%
Gold Nova III (GN3)
9.05%
Gold Nova Master (GNM)
8.08%
Master Guardian I (MG1)
7.55%
Master Guardian II (MG2)
6.61%
Master Guardian Elite (MGE)
5.24%
Distinguished Master Guardian CSGO (DMG)
4.15%
Legendary Eagle (LE)
3.25%
Legendary Eagle Master (LEM CSGO)
3.20%
Supreme Master First Class (SMFC)
2.64%
Global Elite CSGO (GE)
0.75%

We can see that a large percentage of the player base is located in the middle tier, with all four Gold Nova ranks having the highest individual percentages of players. This means that nearly two thirds of the entire player base is ranked from Silver to Gold Nova. 

Rank Disparity in the Distribution

Looking at the graph shows us that if a player reaches Master Guardian Elite, they are already considered to be part of the top 19% of all CS:GO players. Master Guardian Elite is the 13th rank out of a total of 18 skill groups, meaning that only 20% of players cover the 6 ranks going from Master Guardian Elite up to Global Elite. 

The rank disparity in CS:GO can be seen when comparing the 6 lowest ranks with the 6 highest ranks. Players who are in Silver I up to Silver Elite Master cover 32% of the player base, while as mentioned earlier, players who are Master Guardian Elite up to Global Elite cover 19% of the player base. A difference of 13% of players can be concluded after using this comparison, which backs up the existence of a rank disparity.

Maximum Rank difference in a party

A disparity in ranks can cause a problem when queuing up with a party. The maximum rank difference in a party is 5 ranks. This means that if the player with the highest rank in the party is Master Guardian 1, the lowest rank that can play in the same party must be Silver Elite Master. This shows the problem that friends cannot play together in the same party if there is a rank disparity occurring.

However, full parties of 5 players can ignore this clause. That means that a full stack of players can play with each other without worrying about any maximum or minimum rank to worry about. A Distinguished Master Guardian can play with a Silver I in the same party as long as the party consists of 5 people in the lobby.

Why is there a rank disparity in CS:GO?

Rank disparities happen in almost every competitive video game, and there is no exception to CS:GO’s case either. What are some of the reasons that result in this skill disparity, and what is preventing CS:GO players from achieving more equal rank distributions?

Smurfing

Smurfing is a huge problem in many competitive video games such as Rocket League. Smurfing is when a higher ranked player, called a smurf, uses a lower ranked account to play competitive matchmaking. Some smurfs do this because their friends are too low ranked to play with their main accounts due to the maximum rank difference clause that exists.

As a result, the smurf will completely destroy opponents due to the massive difference in skill. This will cause legitimate players to lose games and their elo in an unfair manner, causing them to derank or become stuck in their current rank. This prevents these legitimate players from reaching that top 19% of the player base, which was discussed earlier.

Smurfing Picture

If you are unfamiliar with smurfing, have a quick read of our article about the smurfing guide to fully understand what it’s about.

Boosting

Similar to smurfing, boosting involves high ranked players playing on lower ranked accounts to ruin the experience of legitimate players. Boosting is unavoidably a popular business in the competitive video game scene, as good players can get paid to play the game that they play everyday.

Boosting however, will ruin more games than smurfing. This is because first, the booster will demolish enemies in the boosting process, then the boosted player will ruin games simply because they are not qualified enough to play in that skill group. 

This causes further rank disparity to occur. To learn more about boosting and how it occurs, check out our article on the rank boosting guide.

Difference in commitment

Another factor as to why there are way more lower ranked players compared to high ranked players, is simply the difference in commitment and reason for each person to play the game. Different players have different goals, different total play times, and different reasons for playing the game.

It is undeniable that it takes an incredible amount of commitment, time, and practice to reach the high ranks in CS:GO, and not everyone is willing to take it that far. This is why most of the players in Gold Nova are just casual players who play CS:GO for fun. To learn what it takes to reach the highest rank in CS:GO, click on our article about The Global Elite.

Global Elite

Is it possible to remove Rank Disparity from CS:GO?

It would be a very difficult task to reduce the rank disparity in CS:GO. This is because smurfing and boosting have been and always will be a big problem, which prevents players from ranking up. Despite Valve’s greatest efforts to make changes, such as the addition of Prime Matchmaking, it cannot be perfect, as smurfs and boosters will always find a way to bypass it.



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