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August 22nd, 2011

What Players Want From Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Posted in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike Source, CSPromod

Valve have turned revolutionary announcements into standard business practice. After making the greatest class-based combat game free for everyone, they casually announced “We’re making a sequel to the most popular online shooter of all time” as if they were pointing out there were biscuits beside the tea. EA made more noise about their being a Madden 2012, even though the only thing which could have prevented that was the sun exploding. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (rocking the most perfect acronym of CS:GO) will be shown off at the Penny Arcade Expo within the week even though it won’t be released until next year. That’s classic Valve – a playable game is just the starting point for another year’s work. Which is important, because getting CS:GO right is more important than defusing a nuclear warhead correctly.

It’s very easy to screw up sequels. Crackdown had the plot of “Superpowered cops destroys criminals,” and the sequel played like they went back in time to give themselves brain damage. Even Counter-Strike’s creator doesn’t understand what makes the game, with his Tactical Intervention sequel promising civilians and attack dogs and various other things which control from the player worse than hand-paralysis. Counter-Strike servers are purer tests of sheer skill than Shaolin Temples, while Promod servers are already working to upgrade the experience. Which is why we’re not just dribbling at the prospect of a new Counter-Strike – we’re laying what we’d love to see, while there’s still time.

Clan and League Support

Counter-strike has more established competition than the Olympics, because those amateurs only play once every four years. The competitive community is more essential to CS servers than electricity, but the software makes it easier to reset your advanced shader options than say anything about your team. That’s why most player’s names look like the file got corrupted.

TF2 servers prove how hard Valve listen to their fans. The Catholic church doesn’t pay as much attention to their practitioners, and they have an entire sacrament based on sitting in a dark cupboard with someone to tell them secret naughtiness. Items, maps, entire weapons sets have been integrated from fan support. The next generation of Counter-Strike should have clan identities at the options level, beside your name and spray. A simple request-confirmation system would allow clans to have creat automatic pages, clan servers, organise league matches and much more. Right now you can look into a random TF2 player’s backpack easier than you can find their clan affiliation, and even then you’re depending on people not lying.

Software support for clans would do the same thing for CS leagues as Free 2 Play did for TF2: a lot of initial whining, a whole bunch of beginners, and those who stay to play (everyone no matter what they claim) benefits from a far larger player base. Automated league matching and scorekeeping would eliminate 90% of the whining from shooting other people in the face. And in videogames, the real crime in that sentence was the whining.

Multiple Modes at the Menu

Counter-Strike has been subjected to more custom modifications than the Nissan, and they work far better.

LEGO cars look manlier

Counter-strike servers allow more alternate kinds of fun than a Hollywood sex club and you don’t have to mop them afterwards.GunGame, jump matches, surfing races, knife-ball, sniper duels – they sound like the X-Games stopped playing around with skateboards and really became Extreme. These mods aren’t hard to install (and you can have them included on your own CS server just by asking) but the fact you have to find them at all means many never hear of their incredible joy.

Counter-Strike itself started as a mod. Its entire heritage is how hard players rock when they’re allowed to make more fun things for free just because they want to. TF2 has already integrated a stamp system to support matchmakers – neglecting mod support in CS:GO would be blinder than throwing a flashbang at the Sun and staring at it.

The Ultimate In Anti-Cheat

The greatest joy in running your own server is instantly destroying cheats (here’s how to spot them.) VAC and PunkBuster do their best to defend us from scumbags, but Counter-Strike needs to better at detecting and destroying cheats than a Terminator turned referee.

In the future, people who use aimbots get to meet a real one. Briefly.

We’re looking forward to CS:GO. We can trust Valve to make a sequel because they want to make it better, not just make more money (see: Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2.) The name clearly recognizes the massive player base and global competitions. And the best bit?

We’ll always have the old games. CS: Source servers are still running with tens of thousands of players, and GO would have to ship with atomic warheads to end Counter-Strike 1.6. It’s the ultimate shooter, enjoyed by those who value actual skill over shiny graphics, and we’re not waiting for a replacement. We’re looking forward to even more of it.

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