WitCOVID-19 is pushing most esports competitions online. That has led to many leagues adapting and changing their schedules and production process, to minimize the impact of online play on the integrity of the game. For example, Overwatch League rearranged its schedule based on geographical proximity to limit latency.
However, Counterstrike’s tournaments are particularly international and don’t always have the flexibility to reschedule matches to limit latency. Forget a 100 tick server, how do you play top tier CS:GO on 100 ping? Counter-Strike benefits from being on LAN more than most games, because most encounters are decided by split second adjustments to aim.
As a result of poor connections, some teams have been executing an aggressive, individualized playstyle which would never work on LAN. This new online meta is an interesting development in the saga of online esports.
Counter-Strike online meta
Unlike Overwatch, Flashpoint hasn’t rescheduled their matches to minimize latency. As a result, teams in different regions are experiencing some serious ping issues.
Gen.G, for example, is a North American region team. When they face teams like the Brazillian MIBR, they are sometimes playing on 100 ping simply due to the distance between the two teams. Damian “daps” Steele talked about that issue on April 11 in an interview on the Flashpoint broadcast.
In response to a question about why Gen G struggled to hold Inferno A site against FPX, Daps discussed how online formats have impacted the way teams are playing counter-strike.
“Generally A site on Inferno isn’t a problem, but it’s hard to play the spots I am used to playing,” he explained. “It is almost impossible to hold an angle with 100 ping. If people peak into you, you can’t play normal. I have to peak more, or I can try to hold the angle, but I will lose that fight most of the time.”
Any player who has played on ridiculous pings knows that it affects the way you play the game. The result of these high ping matches is a much more aggressive playstyle. Sites that are traditionally not super difficult to defend, such as point A on Inferno or point A on Mirage, have proven much easier to push in a world of such high ping.
Teams aren’t just passively benefiting from worse connection either. CS:GO is all about coming into the game with a game plan. Many teams are building their strategies around aggressive rushes to take advantage of the poor connection.
Chaos, for example, has been aggressively pushing Mirage site A in their games, using strategies that would never work on a LAN connection. And Chaos knows that. These new strategies which are contingent on poor connections demand that defending teams compensate, which leads to a brand new CS:GO meta for high ping matches.
Communication can also be more challenging for teams who are playing from home. Some teams are still able to play from their practice space, but teams who are under self-isolation statutes are forced to play from their individual homes. With changes to the workflow, some teams like Orgless or Cloud 9 have shown weaknesses in their organization and in game communication. As a result, success in the current Flashpoint meta seems to revolve around individual players popping off, rather than good solid teamwork.
The folly of the online meta
In a world of high ping, it makes sense to build a strategy around fast aggressive pushes which rely on individual player skill. These strategies are very short sighted though, and not only because they won’t work on LAN.
The problem with these strategies is that even when your team is popping off, you will lose a lot of rounds because you aren’t playing with discipline or fundamentals. Tactical shooters require teamwork, execution, and planning. You can’t just go in just looking for picks and expect everything to work out, no matter how talented your players.
At the very least, watching some professional Counter-Strike matches devolve into ladder games with individual heroes attempting to backpack the win has proven that amateurs and professionals both play the game poorly on a bad connection.
Maybe we aren’t so different after all.
- No, it doesn't leave enough room for teamwork and strategy 60%, 3 votes3 votes 60%3 votes - 60% of all votes
- Yes, it's an intense alternative that gets the job done 40%, 2 votes2 votes 40%2 votes - 40% of all votes