It isn't intuitive, but it's not incredibly complex either.
One of the most important strategical aspects of Counter-Strike (CS) that ties the rounds together into one coherent experience in a match is the economy. While other FPS games forgo systems like economy completely or tie them to abilities, the numerical values in CS of the income and cost of items add a particular depth with considerable strategical wiggle room to gain an advantage from. From buy to half-buy to eco rounds, the players and their teams have a lot to take into account, as losing in the economy battle puts you behind in the war for the match. Here is an overview of how the Counter-Strike economy works.
Counter-Strike Economy - Passive income
You will be spawned into the first round with a starting allowance of $800, a number strategically chosen to only allow players to buy utility and/or pistols to fight the first round with. With a price of $1000, even the helmet to deny one-shot headshots from all pistols but the Desert Eagle is out of reach.
After the first round, every player will receive a minimum of $1900 if they lost the round, while the winning team will take at least $3250 home. Other passive income is provided by loss streak bonuses as a catch-up mechanic that caps out after five rounds. Each round lost provides an extra $500 to the losing team.
As T, you should also watch out to not die after the round time has run out as you won’t receive any income for the next round, and you won’t be able to take your equipment into the new round, punishing you twice.
Counter-Strike Economy - Active income
If that income isn’t enough for you, the alternative is to take the money yourself, fulfilling one of the various objectives.
First up is the kill-bonus that varies depending on the weapon you have scored a kill on someone with. Here is a short overview of the kill-reward.
- Zeus x27 - $0 reward
- CZ75-Auto & AWP: $100 reward
- Other pistols, Grenades, Assault Rifles, Auto-Snipers + P90: $300 reward
- Other SMGs: $600 reward
- Shotguns: $900 reward
- Knife - $1500
On top of kill rewards, accomplishing a map objective will also give you bonus currency. For the T-Side, planting the bomb will give you and your teammates an extra $300 each to play around with in the next round. On CT, if you manage to defuse the bomb, your team receives an extra $250 on top of the round win bonus of $3250.
Spending or losing cash
During the buy phase before the start of each round, you will be able to spend your money on weapons, utility, and armour to outgear your opponent. Sometimes, you won’t have enough money for a powerful buy, and your team might decide to go with a so-called “eco-round” in which nothing at all or only small amounts of money are spent if you are certain you will be able to have a strong buy in the next round.
On T-Side, a good buy starts at around $4500 in the bank, which is sufficient for an AK-47, Kevlar & Helmet, and utility. On CT-Side, you might need a little bit more to afford the price of the more expensive M4, and the additional defuse kit of which you should ideally have a couple spread across your teammates.
Another costly expensive is the (hopefully accidental) killing of a teammate, subtracting $3000 in competitive mode form your bank balance, once against double-dipping on the punishment. Also, keep in mind that shooting teammates too often will eventually result in a ban from the match and a penalty to your account, so we advise against being naughty.
Images via Valve