The bomb. Counter-Strike matches revolve around it. Suddenly, it’s different, and that changes everything.
As part of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s latest big update, Valve added a bunch of new animations to the more-popular-than-several-million-high-school-jocks-assembled-into-one-mega-jock multiplayer shooter. Some just make the game look nicer (or worse, depending on who you talk to), but the new bomb defusing animation—key to winning matches if you’re playing on the counter-terrorist team—fundamentally changes a huge part of the game.
See, once upon a time, Counter-Strike avatars didn’t really do a whole lot while defusing the bomb. Their approach was, quite literally, hands-off, so you could hide behind crates or what have you while frying the terrorists’ favourite hot potato. This allowed players to completely disguise their position, and in Counter-Strike, positioning really is everything. An entire meta formed around this style of bomb defusing. It’s at the (suspiciously ticking) core of the game.
Now, as of a couple days ago, counter-terrorists attach wires to the bomb when they’re politely asking it to not kill everyone. The wires are big and chunky. They can easily give away your position. Observe in this video, courtesy of Nxinyourface:
Some long-time players are, rather understandably, pissed. This is a big change, and it makes certain skill-based techniques—for instance, the fake defuse, wherein players pretend to start defusing the bomb in order to draw out hidden enemies (if they were actually defusing, they’d be helpless)—near-impossible to pull off. No wires flopping all about? Then clearly, they aren’t actually defusing. So if you’re a terrorist, you should stay behind cover. In short, some players feel like—between this and nerfs to staple gun the M4A1-S—Valve opened fire on counter-terrorists and broke the game for them, or at least removed a lot of possible strategies.
Pros, like Team Kinguin’s captain, Maikelele, also weighed in:
(Specs = spectators.)
Others, however, are beginning to embrace the change. This, they point out, paves the way for a new meta—for the discovery of new techniques and tactics. It keeps the game fresh, in other words. Further, those same players note that techniques like fake defusing aren’t always visual; at most, it involves one or two split-second peeks from behind cover. Sometimes, it’s about creating the illusion (largely with sound) that you’re diving face-first into a task while staying completely out of sight. The new bomb defusal animation doesn’t blow that to smithereens; it just makes the process a bit different.
Some have started arguing, too, that the weaker M4A1-S will force counter-terrorist players to think more about positioning and the rounds in which they choose to push, instead of brute-forcing their way through with a gun that’s both hard-hitting and quiet.
I, for one, am excited to see what new techniques evolve as a result of these changes—especially at the pro level. This is a fresh, loamy proving ground for players to stake their claims on. Who’ll develop the new strats that everybody uses? These next few weeks should be an interesting time for Counter-Strike fans.