Ok, it's standing on soapbox time. Valve’s rather insidious and gradual kneading in of micro-transactions to practically every facet of its games continues apace with the reintroduction of spray tags to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They used to be all the rage back in the 1.6 and CSS days, letting players spray custom tags onto the environments with the press of a button. Cue penises aplenty, of course.

Well, spray tags disappeared for CSGO, but yesterday Valve brought them back. Only, they don’t quite work the way they used to. Now each spray uses up a chunk of your spray can. A full can lasts for 50 sprays. Any more than this and you’ll have to pay for a paint refill. Sigh.

As for the sprays themselves, they’re no longer custom images which players can make themselves (a recipe for disaster admittedly). Instead they drop in unlockable crates or can be bought with cold hard cash in the in-game store.

To me it smacks of yet another cash grab from Valve, one of the worst offenders in this regard. Still, we should be thankful it’s cosmetic only and shouldn’t have an impact on game balance. Only it already is of course, with the a number of pro players on the competitive servers using hand-picked tags to trick other players into thinking they’ve spotted a change in the memorised map - something which usually indicates the presence of a rival player.

What do you think then, is this just Valve finding a way to charge for something which was previously free? Or is it just a bit of harmless fun?