Advancing Competitive CS:GO
I don’t fancy myself much of a writer. Usually I focus any blog-like material I may have towards my talk show The Hype or on some random social media rant; however, I felt this the proper medium to convey my thoughts on advancing CS:GO. It is important to note that in my opinion, the best way to advance the game is from the top with a system that then trickles down. Thus, I feel it is best to focus on advancing the competitive aspects of the game. Here, I find it best to focus on the highest levels of said competition. I know this may seem counter intuitive as the top competitors only make up a small percentage of the overall player population, but I feel balance changes have their biggest impact at the top and therefore they should be tailored to it.
I feel this is the best time to take a look at these changes as 2014 comes to a close and 2015 lays on the horizon. CS:GO has already come a long way, but there still seems to be unnecessary handicaps in the way that prevent the game from being even better competitively and therefore a better esport overall. So here are a list of changes I feel will help advance the competitive element of CS:GO.
I find it best to start with the simplest and likely least controversial change that needs to be made to improve the game. Countless pro players have taken to social media and/or interviews to express the imbalances of this gun. Also several analysts such as Thorin and lurppis have also provided solid reasoning behind the needs to nerf the gun.
For those who have not seen said content please check out these sources:
Thorin’s The CZ Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvgZ0qkgGWw
Lurppis’s article: http://www.hltv.org/news/13695-what-did-we-learn-from-dh-winter
To sum it up a bit, the gun has way too high of a potential reward for far too little a risk. The gun has been broken since its birth and the $500 nerf from the original insane $300 price was nothing more than a damp Band-Aid on a wound deserving of stitches. The gun has riddled save rounds worthless as there is really no reason to eco when you can get such a damaging gun for so cheap. Also it takes away the one weakness of AWPers that you should be able to exploit. There are several other reasons to look at why this gun needs to be nerfed but I feel there doesn’t need to be much more convincing these days. Also the links I provided already do a far better job than I could.
I honestly can’t believe the CZ-75 has gone so long without fixing. Like I said before, the gun has never been balanced, it was just people got tired of complaining about it when their initial criticism only brought about a slight and worthless nerf. However, when DHW14 approached, people picked back up the torches and mobbed against the weapon in question and rightly so. I think it could have easily been nerfed again before the major with at least a hotfix of a steeper price, but that is in the past.
There have been many proposed solutions. I think a price increase to $1200+ would be the simplest. It would make it risky to buy on save rounds as it might kill your chance to buy the next round if you purchase it. It also will make it harder for awpers to purchase it unless they have already built up a considerable bank. Thus, a price increase fixes a couple of the major issues with the gun. Decreasing the firing rate has been another proposed solution which does offer some promise. But I think a deeper issue emerges here that applies to other guns as well which is movement accuracy, which brings me to my next topic.
The Scout, Movement Accuracy, and Issues With Mid-Air Hitboxes
Before you read any further I want you to watch this video made by Eric “adreN” Hoag if you have not already
adreN on CS:GO Jumping Hitbox Issues: http://youtu.be/H1lblTOV1mg
Essentially this video highlights several issues that competitive CS:GO faces. First off, the scout should not be accurate while jumping. That is just plain ridiculous. Also, when you pair this with the jumping hitbox issue adreN illustrates in the video above, what you get is a player who is basically immortal while in mid-air and can also hit you with 100% accuracy. If that isn’t OP then I am not sure what is.
Basically, we need to decrease the jumping accuracy of the scout. This also leads to deeper issues with moving accuracy that needs to be addressed with this gun as well as maybe some of the pistols (including the CZ issues mentioned already). Also, the issue with jumping hitboxes needs to be fixed.
So it’s about time we revisit the competitive map rotation being used at majors. The maps put into the rotation by Valve weigh heavily on the outcomes of matches which have a considerable amount of prize money on the line. Valve’s selection process also exercises influence on what other leagues use in their rotations in order to better align the competitive scene in one direction. I guess here lays a deeper debate about what maps leagues and other tournaments should be using to help teams focus on one universal map pool. Personally I think we need one map pool all leagues/tournaments use, but I know this presents obstacles for new maps to be adopted. But I digress.
So let’s face it, de_cobblestone is not going anywhere, it was only played twice at DHW14 and its track record isn’t great elsewhere ether. I feel as though most teams would rather see the map gone. Also it is obvious de_overpass still needs some tweaks to truly be a competitive map, but I do feel it still does have potential.
Therefore, at the very least, one map (cobblestone) should be replaced. There are several likely candidates out there and de_cache proved that new maps can work. With that said, I feel de_season could be a great option. The map has already been used before successfully in its earlier versions and FMPONE’s remake is stellar. Also the fact it’s already a part of an operation should make it even more viable. Next in line is de_tuscan. Many have desired to see this map for a long time and it is finally out from Brute. Either take it as is and tweak it, or let Valve have its own version like it did with de_mirage. Regardless, this map is worthy of returning to competitive CS unlike cobblestone (de_cbble).
I will also argue that de_train could easily make a comeback. Volcano made a great version of the map that while not perfect could easily be tweaked to create a viable version of the map. I agree Valve’s version was not great and it was easy to see teams did not want to play it, but I think it has potential if properly edited to return back to its roots from 1.6 and even CS:S.
To conclude, cobblestone needs to go and maybe even overpass might be an option to replace. Maps like de_season, de_tuscan, and maybe even a remade de_train all have the ability to be a suitable replacement. Now is the time to pick a route so there is plenty of time before the next major.
So most of what needs to be said here has already been discussed in detail by lurppis in a couple of his articles which I will link here:
Major Problems: http://www.hltv.org/news/13610-major-problems
What did we learn from DH Winter: http://www.hltv.org/news/13695-what-did-we-learn-from-dh-winter
For a quick recap, online qualifiers for majors need to go. There is simply too much on the line at a major such as prize money, sticker money, and pure prestige. Therefore, LANs need to be the golden ticket to enter the Valve factory of majors. Either take the highest placing team from a major NA LAN to be the NA representative for example, or have regional LAN events hosted by Valve for teams to go through. Or better yet, have a bigger group play event at the LAN for teams to go through so we can have more than 16 teams attend. This idea ties to the next point to consider in tournament format.
BO1 group play is just as ridiculous as online qualifiers when it comes to determining a team’s fate for a major. The fact two map loses eliminate a team from such a major event is a bit insane. We need to structure CS majors to be more like TI. As lurppis pointed out, the boot camp Valve provided at DHW14 proves we can have more days dedicated to the CS major. Use those days to have bo3 groups, or at least bigger groups of BO1 instead of just 4 teams. This will allow teams to get to play more and have a better chance to advance. Also it makes for a better system for truly discovering who the better team is. This same logic could be applied towards having a bo5 finals.
These changes will provide for better competition and a better viewing experience. Here, teams who deserve to be at a major LAN will get to be there instead of online variables plaguing them. Also, better group stage formats will allow teams more matches to play, making the trip more worth it. It will also provide a better environment for the best teams to advance to bracket play.
I also think league formats needs to change, though this is more directed at NA than the majors. I am sick of seeing BO1 Map of the week systems. Let’s do BO3 all the way so teams are playing all the maps all the time instead of focusing on one map a week. This will allow once again for the better teams to rise and also allow for a better environment for proper practice. I admit this is a bit of a rant that doesn’t fully relate to the rest of this blog, but I wanted to voice that opinion as well.
Let’s make these changes NOW!
In this piece I have highlighted several pressing issues that competitive CS:GO faces as 2014 comes to a close. Many of these issues have been brought up by others and are not original ideas of mine and thus I have cited sources where I felt it appropriate. However, I did try to add my own thoughts where I saw fit. Also, I am sure there are more items that could be added; I just put forth the items I felt were most in need of addressing. It is also possible some of my solutions and those cited from others are not optimal. But changes need to happen NOW! This is the perfect time to do so as the year comes to a close and a new year approaches. CS:GO has certainly been on the rise and I want to see it continue to flourish. I think addressing the issues discussed above can be a great step towards improving the competitive nature of the game. With proper tweaks to game balance and tournament formats, I truly believe the success story that is CS:GO can continue.