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September 26th, 2011

Counter-Strike: Source is Gearing Up For GO

Posted in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike Source, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a harder act to follow than the Second Coming, and it’s even more important that it gets things right. Dedicated CS server players are a harder audience than stone golems listening to a dwarf tell mining jokes, and liable to react even more aggressively. Thousands of people are still playing the previous sequel, battling on Counter-Strike: Source servers 7 years after release, and thousands more still curse that as a newfangled aberration from the 1.6 servers which have been running continuously for even longer.

This picture excites us more than most cheerleaders.

Most players care more about changes to Counter-Strike than to the constitution, because it affects their lives more directly. (While you can say a thousand wonderful things about the Bill of Rights – including how it guarantees your right to do so – no-one enjoys sitting down to re-read it every night. Even though the second amendment is pretty much what CS servers are about.)That’s why Valve are preparing for CS:GO servers with the largest and best-trained playtesting group imaginable: Counter-Strike players! September 15th saw a massive overhaul of CS:S. They’ve always been good about maintaining stability, but this wasn’t some minor fix for an obscure clipping error when you spin round seven times while holdinga  glock: this installed an entirely new crosshair system and rebalanced the weapons. DaVinci couldn’t make more unexpected changes if he clawed his way from the grave to paint in elephants behind the Mona Lisa.

Reworking your own game after seven years instead of making a new one. Even 3D Realms didn’t do that, and they’re infamous for dragging games for far longer than possible or sane. Though they might have been better off if they had. Other companies can’t go a year without milking a franchise. Halo would have claimed this amount of rebalancing as a sequel – just add new powerup and box art and bang, sixty dollars. But this work has more at stake than enraging entrenched players. This is clearly field-testing changes to the most intensely beloved shooter formula of all time, so that they can make it even better.

The biggest change is the upgraded accuracy model, with altered firing mechanics when sprinting, ducking, or moving between the two. After almost a decade of expert play it’s like waking up and finding someone has reconfigured your fingers. We’ll call this “Pulling a Jensen” – even if the new system is better it takes some getting used to. Especially for players used to crouch-strafe-jumping to zoomed AWP to qq-double tap, or even knowing what that means.

GO will maintain this terrifying combat pose

Shotgun damage is increased, the m249 is better, even the zooming speed of the most holy AWP has been improved. Though we do wonder who thought that the problem with CS servers was that sniper rifles weren’t yet lethal enough. They even increased the cycle time for Dual Elites, proving that even the most pointless weapons got care and attention. They even fixed the timing of the Glock’s burst fire sounds, and if you’ve ever noticed that was a problem you’ve just admitted you’re a liar.Our favorite bit (apart from the fact they care so much about  CS:GO they’ve found a way to playtest it before even making it)? Private Counter-Strike: Source servers are now even more fun! The update lets private servers reset the max grenade count and max player speed – we’re already looking forward to insane grenade-dash playmodes, arenas of explosive death making Modern Warfare’s Shipment look like a relaxing stroll.

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