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My five big hopes for CS:GO in 2019

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Expert
10th January, 2019
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After recently making a wish list for League of Legends, it seemed to make sense to do one for my other primary focus: CS:GO.

The trouble is, I think CS:GO is in a pretty good state right now. Since the CZ nerfs a while ago and with the recent buff to early game losing economies, nothing feels truly egregious.

I suppose it makes sense for a game that has been at or around the top of the esports food chain for so long to be well balanced, but I think I can pick on a few issues even so. These won’t all be directly related to pro play, mind you.

Someone please beat Astralis
Let me start by saying I’ve got nothing against Astralis.

I like the style of Counter-Strike they play, I like the organisation’s attitude and the players seem like genuinely nice people, which is a nice bonus.

But when a team, any team, dominates a sport in the way that Astralis has started to do to Counter-Strike, some of the excitement is taken away.

Some of the spectacle is lost when tournaments go from “who will win?” to “can anyone stop Astralis?” Nowadays it’s not even that – we’re closer to “who will lose to Astralis in this final?”

It would be great for the scene (and for journalists) if someone could put a dent in Astralis’ armour, better yet if happened on Nuke. Imagine the tabloidesque headlines.

But I don’t want to the change to be Astralis getting worse. I want Na’Vi or Liquid to step up, I want FaZe to get back on-traack, I want Mousesports to reach the next level.

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Essentially, I want teams to take the fight to the Danes.

A new operation
CS:GO operations are a divisive bunch. Reddit loves to complain about how long it’s been since the last one, but the pro scene doesn’t really care about them.

After all, operations have zero effect on esports, at least in any direct sense. The content of the last few hasn’t even been that great, though I loved a couple of maps from Wildfire.

They could reasonably be seen as a way of milking money out of a game that isn’t particularly suited to micro-transactions.

Skins do well, I’m sure, and I’m a sucker for them, but actual in-game content is hard to monetize in a game like CS.

That said, there are people, myself included, who really enjoy operations. I like having new skins and I like having a way to earn them without playing the world’s worst lottery (no, next time it’ll be a stat-trak factory new something, I’m sure).

I like trying out new maps even if the majority of them end up as obscure footnotes on a wiki page somewhere.

I even like the single player content, up to a point. Kill X bots with molotovs was far too luck-based to be enjoyable and I eventually gave up on that one, but the compound stuff from Wildfire was a decent way of passing a few hours.

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New maps
I’ve been around Counter-Strike for a very long time and if there’s one thing I know about this game, it’s that having a new map stick around is about as likely as a British team winning a Major this year.

A boy can dream, though.

After all, it’s not completely unheard of, it’s just incredibly rare. Just look at the track record of operation maps, even the good ones like Tulip.

Then there’s stuff like Canals, which Valve spent quite a long time tweaking but still haven’t tried to push it into competitive play (because it’s awful, but there are others that don’t get as much love despite being better maps).

We all know the reasons new maps are scarce: pros don’t want to give up the advantages they have on the current ones and don’t want to have to waste time on a map that might never end up being played.

It’s why Nuke is still so underplayed, despite having been in the map pool again for over a year.

Even Dust2, the perennial CS classic, has been a rare sight since its return, despite every pro knowing it like the back of their hand.

Maybe another rework can fill the void, but I think this particular wish will remain a fantasy.

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More majors
There’s not much more to be said about this one that the title doesn’t already say.

CS has a ton of third party events run by the likes of ESL and Dreamhack, but even a poorly-run Major like FACE IT London beats all of them for hype.

I never understood why Valve reduced the number to two last year and I sincerely hope they rescind that decision this year.

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M4A1-S Buffs
I said earlier that game balance is in a pretty good spot for CS. That being the case, I can push for a minor change that is almost purely cosmetic without too much worry of it breaking the game.

The A1-S is almost never used by anyone who takes the game at all seriously in its current guise, even after recent buffs to its ammunition.

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It’s a shame because a) it has some of the prettiest skins in the game and b) the silencer is a part of CS’s heritage.

It’s possible that the A1-S being on-par with the A4 would give CTs an unfair advantage in your matchmaking games, but in pro play, players know where they’re likely to get shot from almost all the time.

I think Valve can make the A1-S considerably stronger without breaking the game.