Counter-Strike has been the purest form of competitive FPS play for well over a decade now and continues to attract the sort of gamer looking for something extra in their online experience. Devoid of any tools to help newcomers and as raw as Monday night for the McMahon family it's a game which has amassed hundreds of thousands of fans and given birth to one of the most fanatical and enthusiastic online communities around. Down the years we've seen some updates to the franchise, with the most drastic coming with the release of CS:S but throughout all the changes the game has kept the elements which make it so perfect for e-sports.
It's five on five, gun on gun, brain on brain action and watching top level matches unfold remains one of the most exciting experiences available to fans of e-sports. It's a title which attracts newcomers while also keeping hold of the folk who have invested years into it, and many of those people are still as hooked today as they were when they first saw the loading screen. It's survived many ups and downs and come back stronger and now, with the younger e-sports titles beginning to leave it for dead, it's time for the community to step up once more.
CS:Global Offensive is the latest rehash of the franchise and with the game just a couple of weeks from release the excitement is reaching fever pitch for fans of the FPS genre. Billed as the savior of FPS gaming there is a lot of expectation from current 1.6 and CS:S players and for the game to be a success it needs the backing of those two communities. In order to prepare you for the imminent arrival of CS:GO I'll be taking a look at what we can expect come August 21st and the months following the games release.
We all know the feeling. Enjoying some R&R on your favourite public server with the latest Liquicity corker blaring down your earphones, sitting on a sweet 5:1 kill:death ratio when out of nowhere you see a grenade fly over your shoulder and land 2 feet in front of you. You turn round quickly to see "EliteOwnerGuy742" cowering behind a box and before you can react the top right of your screen shows that you've been team killed. Rage exhudes from every pore in your body and you bang your mouse on the desk before typing some less than pleasant words and hitting enter, moments later he leaves the server, probably looking very sad indeed. Then you sit back and remember that you used to be "EliteOwnerGuy742" and feel bad about the torrents of abuse you chucked in his direction.
Well, as with the release of any new game there's going to be a massive influx of people just like our friend and although it first it can seem daunting having to listen to 80% of the server cry about the use of the AWP only good can come from a new generation of player. That incursion of new players is something which is needed to freshen up the FPS scene which has lacked any new arrivals for quite some time. For 1.6 it has been a lack of newcomers which has accelerated the demise of the title, and CS:S is going the same way. With this wave of noobs comes a potential goldmine of future talent and the foundation for what could be a scene capable of matching the brutes of Starcraft II, League of Legends and DotA2.
If there is one thing I've learned from my time as a competitive player, and especially from my time as a reporter, it's that competitive gamers are stubborn beasts who will resist and fight against change wherever possible. Fans of the Counter-Strike genre however seem to be on another level when it comes to sticking their heads in the sand. There were fireworks when the game was updated from 1.5 to 1.6 but back then nobody had a choice but to put up or shut up, a luxury that wasn't afforded to the games little brother CS:S and because of that hatred for something different it struggled from birth to scale the heights of the daddy.
It's something that seems likely to happen once more as both the 1.6 and CS:S communities remain doubtful of the new release. Needless to say the CS:S community seems much more open to Global Offensive as they're sick of playing second fiddle to the reported 70,000 competitive 1.6'ers (Sup, IEM). For a lot of the 1.6 community though CS:GO is the spawn of satan and anyone who dares to contemplate the switch will burn in eternal agony. The first couple of months following the games release will be the most vital if CS:GO is to be a success. Knowing the attention span of most gamers and the doubt already surrounding its potential as an e-sport if it gets off to a bad start - hello CS:S at WCG 2005 - then it will have a mountain to climb if it's to win the hearts of the current die hards.
Let's just hope that Valve have something in the works post-release, if they don't FPS in e-sports may just be a thing of the past.
My favourite part of CS:Global Offensive is by far the introduction of the Molotov Cocktail, not only because of my Irish ancestry and my thirst for chaos but because they add a new dynamic to the game. Although slightly overpowered some minor tweaks should be enough to see them included in competitive play and if they are things will get a hell of a lot more tactical and that can only be a good thing for spectators and players alike. Having played the beta for quite some time now I've already seen some excellent tactical Molotovs which have been used to block CT's from entering certain areas early in the round, stop certain rushes dead in their tracks and even prevent bomb plants or defuses.
Of course people need to be smart with their use of the Molotov and should a cvar be implemented which limits the number on each team I'd love to see tournaments and events allow their usage. I mean.. It's fucking FIRE.
If there's one thing I'm looking forward to above all else it's the chance to see the giants of their respective titles come together and battle against each other on an even playing feild. Many have tried to bridge the gap before, hell even we did it when we organised the show-match between then kings of CS:S Reason Gaming and the undisputed gods of 1.6 fnatic. We've also seen a huge amount of arguments and discussions across every community site debating whether 1.6 players are more "skilled" than CS:S players.. Most of the attempts solve this mystery have been futile but with plenty of top level players from pretty much every FPS title out there seriously considering CS:Global Offensive the chances of finally seeing it happen seem good.
That's before we even throw the CoD4 scene into the mix. For years they've plodded along on life support, with no backing and nobody but themselves to keep the scene running. They know that there's a greater chance of Usain Bolt losing a 100m sprint against Gabe Newall than another CoD title taking off competitively, so for them CS:GO is a viable option. With plenty of recognisable players currently bashing the beta in preparation for its release it's likely we'll see a huge influx of top level CoD players. Could we finally see if their raw ability matches that of Counter-Strike players? Nahhhhhhhhhhh.
Well.. I hope so. CS 1.6 was one of the forefathers of e-sports and the players and teams involved in the early days helped to lay the foundations of what we know and love today. As a game it has enjoyed an enormous amount of success and throughout the years some of the most exciting, intense and downright incredible moments have been enjoyed. From the shot heard around the world to the greatest ninja defuse attempt ever people who witnessed these moments happen will remember them for many years to come. Sadly the game won't be around for much longer as a competitive title and no matter how much the fanatics dismiss these claims they have credence; tournaments are dropping the game, prize money is lower in the ones which keep it, organisations are finding it more difficult to support their teams and players are just less interested.
The same goes for its little brother CS:S. Although it's never enjoyed the sort of success 1.6 has it had a brief flirtation with the mainstream thanks to the CGS and from then has plodded on. Although most CS:S fans would have hoped their game would replace 1.6 come the end of its tenure, the release of CS:GO means that they'll be left disappointed. Still, with a lack of tournaments supporting FPS titles the release of CS:GO couldn't have come at a better time. The MLG continues to grow and expand and is always looking at new titles - see the recent LoL arena - and they are joined by a vast number of tournaments taking a close look at Valve's latest baby, including The IEM.
Even if it takes some time for the big boys to get involved the number of local LAN events should be enough to tide us over and create a scene capable of sustaining itself. Let's just hope that we don't see a repeat of CS:S and event organisers actually give the game time to develop as an e-sport. Rome wasn't built in a day after all...
|Michael Mcghee // Rickeh|
Posted 9 months ago: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 12:57:03 +0100
|North Am||May 24||China|
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