Why Is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the Best Electronic Sports Game?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the latest instalment of the classic series by Valve, Counter-Strike, which roots back to the days of Half-life when it started out as a mod. It has climbed a steep hill and taking its rightful place as one of the most exciting electronic sports (eSports) games out there.
Large scale professional gaming is quite a new phenomenon in the entertainment industry marking 2014 as the most successful year for the entire industry that is eSports. Each year it gathers millions of viewers both online via services like Twitch.tv and offline at massive arenas that can hold tens of thousands of people at a time, all eager to see their team compete for the first place. In the last ten years eSports competitions and their prize pools went up from hundreds of thousands of dollars to prize pools that have now reached ten million dollars! However, what makes CS:GO take the icing on the cake when it comes to eSports? It surely is not its prize pools that have never reached over 250,000 dollars, which does not even surpass its predecessor Counter-Strike Source (477,500 dollars), what is it then that makes it the best eSports game?
CS:GO is a first person tactical shooter where you have two separate sides face off in a five versus five action packed match. The first to take 16 rounds wins (out of 30 total), unless rules specify otherwise, with a standard 120 seconds or 105 seconds per round creating a very fast paced game between the counter-terrorists and terrorists. The objective is to either eliminate the other team or for the terrorists to plant the bomb and defend it for 45 or 35 seconds (once again depending on the rules) until it explodes or for the Counter-terrorists to defuse the bomb.
The shorter round and bomb timers are played out in the professional scene making the games even faster paced as well as they have an additional overtime if the teams draw 15-15.
Besides the games fast paced nature it also requires precision and skill. Each gun in the game, unlike other first person shooters, has a set and unique spray pattern. A spray pattern is when you hold down the firing button and shoot, the bullets will always follow the same pattern.
This aspect alone adds a colossal learning curve for the game as the patterns differ depending on many factors such as how far away the is target, is the target moving, is the player moving, is the player crouching. Other aspects are one-clicks and snapping. One clicks are the ability to hit the target precisely in the head with one bullet which, with an AK-47, is a one shot kill. Snapping is simply put, an accurate reflex shot. It is when the player has the ability to naturally snap on to an enemy's head as the player comes around the corner and is simply faster and more accurate than the opponent.
On top of that the teams have to out-play one another not only skill-wise but tactically as well. As the rounds are short and fast the teams' in game leaders (IGL) have to make decisions and read the game even faster. The IGLs have to read the enemy positions and force them into a disadvantage either through faking an attack on a bombsite to force a rotation or forcing them out of position (from the terrorist perspective). Rotations are when players move from one bombsite to another. As counter-terrorists the IGL has to try and figure out what the enemy team is doing and according to that call out rotations or pushes. For the counter-terrorists it is vital to stay in the correct positions to have the upper hand either via having a crossfire setup or having the angle advantage over the terrorist. An angle advantage is when one player can spot the opponent peeking behind a corner before the opponent spots him as well as having more target "area" to shoot at.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has grown dramatically from when it was initially released in 2012. This year already promises to be the biggest year for CS:GO as the prize pools that have been announced already break the 250,000 record. We are seeing more and more teams from around the world participate in major events having a Brazilian and Finnish team for the first time at a Major.
It is a fast paced, skill-based first person tactical shooter where a team that is not as skilled as the other can outsmart the opposition and solely beat them on that. At the highest levels where skills are matched it becomes like a game of fast paced chess. Unlike its counterpart eSports games something is always going on in the game, making it, in the eyes of many, the most interesting eSports game out there.
Anthony "Alphad115" Fedorov