Counter Strike has long been a competitive sport. The very nature of the game provides a competitive theatre with more to offer than the Call of Duty franchise and depth unparalleled since the early first person shooters. It’s not like Quake or Halo – there’s no dashing, flying or one hit melee kills, CSGO boils players down to their raw skill and punishes players who try to bring fast paced shooting mechanics to it. It’s because of this that Counter Strike has become such a popular audience event. Sure, any player can learn to click on opponents’ heads, but learning spray patterns, when certain weapons are accurate (and to what degree) and keeping up to date with the ever changing weapon balances (I’m looking at you, Negev), it’s clear that a certain level of dedication is required to maintain the skill level needed to compete with the best. Here’s ten reasons we think Counter Strike is the best Esport:
1 – It’s easy to understand. Sure, learning the in-and-outs of the in-game economy can take a little getting used to, but even people who have never played a video game can appreciate well placed scout head shots. If you throw an Esports newcomer into a League of Legends tournament, there’s far too much going on to understand – the minimap is confusing, killing minions might not be clear and team fights are a general cluster of lights and noise. With CS, you get what it says on the tin; a shooting game.
2 – The professionals play on the same settings as you. Some games, such as Halo, have so many different modes – figuring out which on the professionals play on can be a little confusing. Jumping into a match-made game of slayer seems easy, but that’s not what the professional players are playing. In the earlier titles, players would have to copy and paste the rules from the internet if they wanted to play like they do in the big leagues, with some titles bringing out “MLG mode”, a homage to the pro rules. When you play a competitive match of CSGO, you know it’s the same rules that the pros use.
3 – It’s downright exciting. There’s no denying that seeing your favourite team clutch a 1 v 3 is akin to riding a white-knuckle roller coaster. You can’t help but encourage the players verbally as your heart rate increases tenfold. Everything about the game is exhilarating by design, from pistol rounds to full buys.
4 – You learn a lot. Seeing the pros play on your favourite maps allows you to see where they’re aiming, what they’re buying and where they throw their grenades. CSGO’s grenade mechanic isn’t like other games; the player has a lot of control over where they end up and with so many different types of grenade, special smokes and pop-flashes are bound to arise. The Xbox smoke on De_Dust II is a popular example, allowing Terrorists to attack A short with complete visual cover from Counter Terrorist snipers at double doors.
5 – You can make money! The most expensive weapon skin (The Dragon Lore) is only available from the Cobble case. Cases can be dropped to players if they watch CSGO majors, potentially earning them Steam bucks to spend on games. Free weapon skins for watching your favourite video game? Yes please!
6 – You’ll make friends. Watching Esports is only made better with a few mates to watch it with. If you’ve never watched a major with your friends, with some pizza and drinks, you’re really missing out. You’ll feel like middle-aged men from Burnley watching football at the pub in no time.
7 – There’s a huge following. Millions of people tune into the big CSGO tournaments on Twitch or the CSGO client. Simply going to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Subreddit will show you just how big this following is, with hundreds of people discussing the Esports scene daily.
8 – It’s always getting better. With bigger arenas each year, higher budgets and experience from the production teams, the Majors have matured a lot since the Counter-Strike Source days. Casters keep the show alive with analysts breaking down the matches and creating memes, the show is perfect for everyone to watch, old or new to the game.
9 – Finding a team to support is fun. Local UK teams have been a bit of a joke in CS history, but in recent years, British teams have been making a huge breakthrough. Most people support international teams from America or Europe, but finding a team based in the United Kingdom has never been easier than it is today. Rocking merch at gaming conventions is always a fun way to interact with other fans of the same organisations (or rivals!).
10 – It’s not confusing anymore. Esports used to be a dumbfounding mass of players and organisations all buying pros and making announcements. If you talk to an older Esports fan, they’ll tell you how messy it was. In recent years, however, with Esports apps updating fans on who’s playing who and Esports teams releasing articles about player transfers and what they’re doing, understanding the game is fun and easy to do.