Counter Strike: Another Brutal Learning Curve

“I must be a masochist. After going through the trial by hell-fire of learning the various intricacies of DotA (and this was back in WC3 where it was even less friendly to new players) and Starcraft II I’ve decided to pick up another game that has a notoriously steep learning curve, Counter Strike: Global Offensive. It’s brutal learning how to play the game, but oh so satisfying when you actually do things properly every once in a while (or as Counterstrike players refer to it, a clutch play). The goal of Counterstrike is simple. Complete the objective or kill everyone on the other team. But within those straightforward objectives are many intricacies. I’m going to attempt to detail a few that I’ve discovered (while playing the Competitive mode) out of the many that exist in the game, as well as my appreciation for them. Check the next few posts for more observations!

The goal of Counterstrike is simple. Complete the objective or kill everyone on the other team.

The value of life: There are no respawns in Counterstrike. Once you die, you are dead and there is nothing you can do except communicate to your teammates and try to help them. This means that if you are able to take out at least one person down with you then you can feel OK about your contribution as you haven’t left your team with a numbers disadvantage. This also means that when you manage to take out three people guarding a bomb that’s been planted as the last man on your team you have made a huge contribution to your team and won them a round that they likely wouldn’t have otherwise (this would be considered an aforementioned “”clutch”” play). The lack of an ability to respawn adds a welcome permanence to the decisions you make (thereby enabling further strategic depth) that is missing from other games in the FPS genre. There isn’t any other FPS that I have played that recreates the feeling of being the last man standing and having to hunt down those last few people or desperately try to fend them off as you defend an objective. The permanence of your successes and failures adds so much weight to your actions.

The importance of information and communication: Given that each action carries so much weight it is vital that you and your teammates have the proper information with which to evaluate the decisions laid before you. Unlike a shooter with respawns where you usually run out and try to kill as many people as you can before you fall and then run out again Counterstrike doesn’t offer you that option. So, in the absence of the option of returning to life and acting on the information you’d gathered, instead you must collect as much information as you can so that you can avoid the sudden end that everyone on the other team is trying to impose on you. This leads to an environment where (in the majority of my games) players have been quite vocal in communicating what the plan should be as well as where the see other players going or what type of weapons they are using. Information is so vital in this game that even if you die while attempting to defend a bomb location if you can tell your team how many are coming through, whether the bomb is in that location and what kind of damage you dealt you can leave them with the winning hand despite them being down a player. This type of environment makes for extremely enjoyable matches when you have a team that communicates and works together but can also make for infuriating games when it seems no one but yourself is attempting to communicate and that the information you gathered as you fell, despite your valiant struggle, isn’t being taken in at all.

And there are many many more that I will eventually come to be aware of as I strive to improve (currently in scrub tier at Silver II with 11 wins, hehe). It’s the sign of a truly well-made, designed and executed game that it draws people in despite there being such huge barriers to entry. Although the learning curve may push some people away, those who remain benefit from the depth and longevity that such complexity allows for. DotA, Starcraft and CS:GO are all games that aren’t afraid to present a gaping chasm to those  considering whether or not to make the jump. It’s up to the player to evaluate whether they can learn to fly before they hit the quickly approaching ground.

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

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