At a macro level, CEVO is very reminiscent of FACEIT, offering its own tournaments, free membership (with a premium option), and a relatively straightforward PUG system. The servers are, as should be the norm, 128 tick and very stable. Much like FACEIT Pro League, CEVO has its own competitions, simply dubbed CEVO CS:GO Season X, or in this case 13.
The tournament is split into various skill divisions, ranging from Free to Amateur to Intermediate and, finally, Main. As the name might suggest, Free division requires nothing except a team of five players to join, meaning anyone’s welcome if they can grab four other players. A first place win in the Free division gets you and your team a red carpet welcome into Intermediate, and a second place finish gets you the same red carpet welcome, except it’s into Amateur as opposed to Intermediate. All Amateur and Intermediate winners get moved to Main where the first place prize is a nice $6,000 bag of cash.
Apart from the official CEVO seasons, the service offers sponsored tournaments as well with their own various prizes. Events like this include the iBUYPOWER GameFest LAN with a $10k prize pool and the $90k Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series.
Now let’s talk about their own premium service, aptly named CEVO MVP. As an MVP, you get the benefits of unlimited weekly scrims, unlimited player blocks, PUG Moderator eligiblity, CEVO In-Sight, access to private PUGs and 10-Mans, GOTV Demo Access, leaderboard eligibility, and in-game recognition. It sounds nice, but compare that to FACEIT’s Tournaments and Ladders and whatever benefits you might have seen in an MVP subscription quickly fade away.
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Speaking of fading away, CEVO seems to be mostly dead in terms of player presence. I logged in over a period of three days and the screenshot below captures the current state of the servers. I played five PUGs last week, which, during CEVO’s heyday, would’ve been a simple process of joining a server, waiting a couple minutes, then playing. This time around, three of those five PUGs involved waiting 20-30 mins for a full server to join. For the other two, the Gods smiled down upon me and I managed to actually join a server with free slots. The experience was nothing to write home about, to be honest. The only interesting PUG was the one where my teammates started fighting because we were getting as rekt as the Berlin Wall in ’89.
Now onto a personal story that it’s important for me to include. I have very fond memories of CEVO from back when I wanted to be a famous CS:GO pro. CEVO was where I began my journey to stardom and, ultimately, CEVO was where I ended it. It was the place where I played in PUGs, Scrims and in the Free division with my first–and last–team. You could say CEVO was the place where my esports dreams began as well as where they ended.
That said, I’m very sad to see it in such a state when, in my opinion, it was much better than FACEIT. With nearly empty servers and a lackluster premium service, it seems the only reasons to even bat an eye in CEVO’s direction are the tournaments. While I definitely understand why sponsored tournaments from big name companies like HyperX and iBUYPOWER are more profitable for the company, my nostalgia makes me wish they would still be the way they were in their heyday. Times are changing, and with that has come the apparent demise of CEVO as a PUG platform. Rest in pepperonis.