Hey guys, Welcome to an another Counter Strike post ! If you are an old reader, You know well about my habits. If you’re new, Lemme tell you, I LOOOOOVE Counter Strike. I’ve been playing it since I was 10 Years old (I’m 23 now).
In this post I shall blab about Valve, the super corporation behind our favorite titles such as CS, DOTA:2 and Team Fortress. Its also the developer of Steam, the largest gaming community and home to thousands of titles. Back to Counter Strike, We all remember the classic 1.6 right ? Well old timers sure do. In this post I try to figure out why Valve killed such a great title, What was expected from it, What features separate CS from CSGO. Lets get to it :
Counter Strike 1.6 was a masterpiece, but it wasn’t developed with the intention to become the most massively played fps ever. Counter Strike 1.6 spread like wildfire, In an era where things did not become viral easily. It quickly became the “Way of E-Sports” and the standard for First Person Shooters for time to come. But giants at Valve and Electronic Sports Leagues corporations (example : ESEA) never actually considered it a full game, Only a mere mod for Half Life.
Dear Valve, Why did you kill Counter Strike 1.6 ?
In a decade of its launch, Counter Strike 1.6 enjoyed the fame of being Number #1 E-sport, Legends like Teams NaVi, Fnatic and Evil Genius came to the forefront and players like Forest, Get Right, Guardian, KennyS, N0thing, Spawn, Markeloff (list does not end) became the biggest celebrity of ESports. Although the game itself was super-popular, The esports scene in early and late 2000’s was just a fraction of what it is today, but dedicated fanboys and to-be pros (Karrigan, Scream, Shroud,you and me) existed which played a big role in CS 1.6 upcoming future.
In the period 2004-2008 (Around the very first major tournaments), Valve saw that the community is hardcore around 1.6, but new players were often found hesitant to purchase CS1.6, It had a large learning-curve, A sh#t load of cheaters and not that enticing graphics. The outsiders even claimed Counter Strike 1.6 was being slowly killed by Call Of Duty.
Valve, who was at that time much focused on the development of Steam and its in-house production : Team Fortress & DOTA saga’s, Didn’t do much in regards to CS1.6. After Purchasing this mod of a game from its developers,They Started working on a upgraded CS, and here comes the most underrated sibling of cs franchise, Counter Strike : Condition Zero. Although its being said that CS:CZ was in development from early 2002, The final version hit the stores in late 2004. It included many things that weren’t appreciated at that time, But became standard in future, Like Molotovs, Super spammy machine guns with large ammo (much like our negev) and even an rocket launcher.
CS:CZ was a great upgrade, with smoothed graphics, Valve Anti-cheat and Steam. A fraction of CS1.6 players switched to CS:CZ, and everything was fine. But still two things that mattered most to Valve didn’t happen :
1) Outsiders would still call it a mod, And it was. It still used the good ol’ GoldSRC engine.
2) Valve was insecure by the aged engine, And wanted to push out its new engine, They also wanted CS (which was #1 at that time) to be developed internally.
In order to get in on the best FPS train, Valve employed Hidden Path Entertainment, A prestigious game developing firm, To remake the orignal Counter Strike to their demands. And so they did.
Come on down Counter Strike : Source, The very first CS on Source engine. 100% Developed under the supervision of Valve, CS:S got the tasty features from other source games, i.e DOTA and TF:2. The whole game was changed from the ground-up. And that too within 8 Months of commercial launch of Counter Strike : Condition Zero (I’d say they were in a hurry to kill of the GoldSRC engine).
The outsiders who complained about CS being just-a-mod finally jumped on the Volvo wagon and started praising Counter Strike :Source. While it received golden reviews from the world, The one who matters to the game most; Its community, didn’t like it (including me). The game was dumbed down in order to make it more newbs-friendly, And things like decorative fire, Weather clouds and detailed walls, Which were introduced so as to remove the ancient tag from Counter Strike, Became problematic in regards to performance of the game. Naturally, Pros threw it away and Counter Strike 1.6 stayed as the king of E-sports for the time to come.
Come 2010, Valve said hey, these people are still playing too much CS1.6, And the earning from CS1.6 hasn’t increased significantly, On the other hand we have CS:S, which is trashed by the Pros and hardcore community alike, We should do something, And ta da da:
Introduce Counter Strike : Global Offensive !
I don’t need to tell about this installment, CS:GO was vetted by pros of Counter Strike 1.6 and Source before its release, and praised by the world even while it was in Beta in 2012. Even I agree that Valve did all things right when it came to csgo. They added Official Matchmaking, Overwatch, A fancy GOTV for watching matches and what not.
CS:GO also excels where Counter Strike 1.6 failed, To generate massive income for Valve. With addition of “Official” skins and cases, CS:GO became a very successful $$$-cow for valve.
I don’t have any beef with CS:GO, I Play it quite regularly (1500+ hours and counting),And it’s a great game. But understand that Valve didn’t reinvent the wheel with CS:GO, it just added the creamy features of DOTA:2 and integrated social functions to the classic CS platform, With some changes here and there to the Source mechanics, Counter Strike : Global Offensive is a waxed and polished CS:S.
I feel like Valve may have increased its audience base with this installment, But Lost, and Lost as in divided it’s dedicated FPS audience into 2 parts : Classic CS Shooters and Pimped CS Players.
Playing CS:GO feels like an entirely different game, With only similarity being its name. But if we ignore the Anti-Aliased walls, $1000 skins and some mechanisms, The features that made CSGO a hit could have been added to the classic Counter Strike 1.6. If you see it my way, Valve wouldn’t have needed to create CS:GO, If they just added some things like:
- Official Matchmaking with ELO-ratings (Ranks).
- Party Member (Lobby) Function.
- A Better Anti-cheat.
- Constant Updates.
- Something like GO-TV, but for 1.6.
Graphics, For the die-hard Counter Strike players wasn’t ever a problem. Surely younger audience wouldn’t be fascinated by the 8-bit smoke and the pixelated walls, But the core feeling of Counter Strike would have stayed intact. If Valve is earning so much by cosmetic items in CS:GO, it could have been added to 1.6, You know we did it unofficially in 2007.
Is Counter Strike Dead ?
Counter Strike 1.6 refuses to die, As it still has its heartwarming community around it. While the addition of newbs to the game has declined drastically in the past few years. With them killing off ESEA official CS1.6 servers, banishing it from tournament and letting it rot without updates has faded CS1.6 from the frontline of FPS industry.
The reason I’m so mad at valve is because although they have washed their hands off Counter Strike 1.6, They won’t make it a Free-To-Play title. Dude doesn’t your bayonets and Dragonlores don’t make enough revenue that you still need to charge for a game that we, The community made and kept it running ? You have ended support for this gem, Your official servers are dead and you keep organizations from playing it on any Major event.
If anything, I’ll give my dollar-fifty to that guy who is running a 32slot Pub off his pocket for the last 10 years and use the warzone (pirated) client for myself.