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Interview: How Valve Will Avoid 'Noobing'  Counter-Strike: GO
Interview: How Valve Will Avoid 'Noobing' Counter-Strike: GO
September 15, 2011 | By Tom Curtis

September 15, 2011 | By Tom Curtis
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With its cross-platform, downloadable shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve hopes to capture a new audience for the hit PC-derived franchise, while at the same time appeal to even the most hardcore Counter-Strike pro.

In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Valve writer Chet Faliszek described the upcoming game as "Counter-Strike for the masses," noting that the title will include features like the new Casual Mode, which will help new players experiment with the game without worrying about earning cash between rounds.

And while the game is launching on consoles, Faliszek said that unlike other popular console shooters, CS:GO won't feature any sort of persistent leveling system -- rather, the game hopes to simply test a player's dexterity and skill.

Building That Competitive Spirit

"The thing about CS:GO is that it's a pure, competitive game," he told Gamasutra. "There's not a lot of the meta-game around it, there aren't a lot of things in-game that take away from the skill, it's all about saying, 'You died because the other guy's better.'"

Faliszek also noted that since Counter-Strike is "still the number one competitive game on PC," Valve wanted to ensure the same competitive atmosphere transferred over to consoles. The best way to do that, he said, was to change as little as possible.

"When bringing Counter-Strike to PS3 and Xbox, we wanted to make sure we weren't 'noobing' it, or dumbing it down. The game has an entry point for new players in its Casual Mode, but it's not ticking off the top players," he said.

He even said that during cross-platform play between PC and PS3, console players using a controller won't get any sort of auto-aim to compensate for the precision of a mouse and keyboard.

"We think that if you're really good with the controller, and you can match the fidelity of movement of the mouse and keyboard, then you'll hold your own. If not, well, you'll just be matched with people who play like you," Faliszek said, adding that PS3 players can also use a mouse and keyboard if they choose.

Keeping in line with Valve's goal to create a truly skill-based game, Faliszek said the studio is going out of its way to make the game plays well at high levels, in hopes of reuniting the splintered community of skilled Counter-Strike players, who are currently spread across Counter-Strike: Source and Counter-Strike 1.6.

"These two communities want a new game that brings them together again -- to make them whole," Faliszek said, explaining that CS:GO hopes to address a number of problems that split the Counter-Strike audience in the first place.

Rebuilding The Skill Ceiling

Specifically, Faliszek explained that the changes in Counter-Strike: Source significantly altered the playing field for Counter-Strike's advanced players, leaving little room for high-level techniques to develop.

"With CS:S, the skill ceiling collapsed, so the really good players weren't as different as the pretty-good players. In 1.6, players had an easier time differentiating themselves, as there are a lot of really nuanced things these players can do," Faliszek said.

With CS:GO, Valve is working with a number of competitive Counter-Strike players and professional league organizers to rebuild Counter-Strike's skill ceiling for high level play, while still maintaining accessibility for everyone else.

"We're looking at changes that are about adding depth for skilled players, without adding complexity for the lower levels," Faliszek said.

Most of these changes, he said, would likely go unnoticed by an average player, but they have major implications for truly competitive play.

"For example, in 1.6, a really good player will know that their first bullet will always be true, and then the bullets form a pattern around the aiming reticule, so really good players will aim low because they know the second bullet will always go up -- they do all these things at the drop of a hat without a second thought," Faliszek said, offering some insight into how minute details can allow a wide range of player skill.

Valve plans to test these high-level changes with a beta period for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive this October, and the game's official release date is currently set for early 2012 on PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3.


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Comments


Jacob Barlaam
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good, don't need another CoD out there, game takes no skill whatsoever.

Matt Cratty
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Up until Portal 2, I had utter and undying faith in Valve.



I will never discount their ability to do anything, but appealing to both groups sound impossible.



Portal 2 attempted to appeal to both groups, and the result was a much less enjoyable experience (at least on the PC).

Jesse Tucker
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"We're looking at changes that are about adding depth for skilled players, without adding complexity for the lower levels," Faliszek said.



-This is the perfect approach to any competitive game. Fantastic.

Dana Fortier
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'You died because the other guy's better.'"



This should actually read:

'You died because the other guy was using a keyboard and mouse.'



It's not CoD's level design that created the spawning issues, it's the respawning algorithm. CoD has some of the best MP level design by far, especially in Black Ops. You can hate on it all you want, but it is fun, and it is accessible while being, for the most part, skill-driven. If you can't acknowledge the most popular game's strengths, then you're being willfully ignorant.



CS was so awesome in its day but its vocabulary is outdated and it will have a hard time keeping new users because of it. I'm guessing most people will rage quit once they realize there isn't any respawning. ;)

Mike Griffin
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" 'We think that if you're really good with the controller, and you can match the fidelity of movement of the mouse and keyboard, then you'll hold your own. If not, well, you'll just be matched with people who play like you," Faliszek said, adding that PS3 players can also use a mouse and keyboard if they choose. "



That's great. Last time I used a mouse & keyboard for a shooter on PS3 was years ago, with Unreal Tournament 3's included support. And it felt really good, once my console environment was retrofitted to accommodate comfy mouse & keyboard holding. A properly tuned, high DPI mouse remains the premium interface of choice for competitive shooters.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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CS 1.4 was the end of CS for me. The lack of silent bunny-hopping took all the fun away. I barely tried Source. Do they still show the enemy on the radar(Dumb)? Do you still get flashed, even though you're not looking at the flash(How's that even possible?)? Also, it seemed like movement was even slower on Source.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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I'd like to see a mode where you're unable to see the dead on the scoreboard and no death notifications on the hud

Joel S
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I've always wanted to play against console players from my PC. But I guess owning won't be the same if there's skill matching. How will I own any noobs!

mike scala
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cod doesn't need a multi million advertising campaign, they get enough attention from message boards...

Jeremie Sinic
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Regarding the leveling system, what about something like Halo Reach? I like to purchase new pieces of armor in Halo especially because they don't have any impact on the game balance but are simply a nice way to reward active players with more appearance customization options.

Samuel Wissler
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The problem with CS:S was that the movement felt really gummy, it had funky hit-boxes, and it added physics objects which interfere with stealth compared to 1.6. These problems were the result of an attempt to show off the once new source technology. Happily it looks like Valve is ready to take a look at CS again and this time isn't worried about showing off their new engine since it isn't new anymore. A gameplay focused CS will be a great thing to have back in popularity with a united community. I hope they deliver.





CS is just on a different level from CoD when it comes to competitive play. I haven't played a CoD game since the first couple, but I remember when those came out and the shifting spawn positions was this big selling point. The thing it was essentially selling was a more forgiving pub server environment where you wouldn't get camped at a static spawn location. That's fine in a casual game, but silly in something competitive. In the early CoD games you could just predict the next "random" spawn location for a ton of free flanking kills. It sounds like that is the same with the newer ones. It's an element of gameplay that reduces team unity and strategy in combat by introducing a constantly shifting element.



CS is just a purer shooter, and better for competitive play.


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