Dear Valve and others, I want to talk about a major issue with the Steam Master Servers. For a while now, the CS:GO server browser would only display <1000 community servers in the server browser which is low especially for a very large game. The only people to blame were the CS:GO developers. Recently, I've been testing out the server browser, and I've concluded this isn't a CS:GO specific issue, this issue impacts CS:GO more than other games due to the amount of Valve official servers.

I've discovered that Valve official servers are not shown on the CS:GO in-game server browser. I've used a program called "Wireshark" and started a packet capture when I refreshed the server browser, in the detailed packet capture, all the tags are listed and for Valve official servers, there was a tag named "valve_ds". I have set this tag for one of my servers on the server browser and it also disappeared immediately, removing the tag made the server reappear again. This shows that even though no Valve official servers are displayed on the in-game server browser, they are still being requested from the Steam Master Servers. The Steam server browser is different, it does not filter servers with the tag "valve_ds" and shows all servers the Steam Master Servers give you including Valve official servers.

This leads to the problem with the Steam Master Servers. It is capped at 5000 maximum servers. On the Steam server browser (no filters), every game that I've tested, including Team-Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Source, etc (¾ of these games overall have 7000+ servers) will not display any more than 5000 servers. The CS:GO server browser usually displays around 50-1000 servers because there are around 3000-4000+ Valve official servers. If there is a cap on the amount of servers it can give you, then this is a valid reason why it doesn't display 1000+ community servers. Remember, the CS:GO in-game server browser still requests the Valve official servers but filters them in the browser itself.

This should help Valve fix the issue. Another thing I would like to mention is that every game I listed uses the Steam Master Servers, I did a packet capture with Wireshark when I refreshed the in-game server browser and it gave me the same Steam server IP in Wireshark right before it requested all the game servers (the Steam server IP changes if you block the current Steam server IP through the Windows Firewall tool). One last thing I would like to mention is even if there isn't exactly 5000 servers, doesn't mean it isn't capped at 5000 maximum servers, I've found that it sends a request to every IP the Steam Master Servers give you, if it doesn't respond, it will not display on the server list (there were 50+ servers not responding with my search which is the reason why I only got 4911 servers on the Steam server browser for CS:GO instead of 5000 exactly).

Valve should also consider setting Valve official servers to not report to the Steam Master Servers. CS:GO doesn't display any Valve official servers, but it still requests each server, therefore, the server browser will stop displaying new servers (server browser "stops") for a period of time because it is filtering all the Valve official servers and it will take more time to display all the community servers after the Valve official servers.

Overall, I hope Valve addresses this issue. Fixing this issue will benefit Valve and the community.

Thanks for reading.

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