One step forward, two steps back seems to be Valve’s motto nowadays, particularly when examining the publisher’s recent ruling change announcement regarding the role of coaches at Valve-sponsored events.
Valve have stated that coaches will only be able to communicate with their respective teams prior to the start of matches and during tactical pauses only. This is a huge blow for the CS:GO competitive scene, and is undeniably a massive set-back for the growing competitiveness and skill of the eSport.
Comparing eSports to traditional sports seems to be becoming more common and the shoe certainly fits relevantly in this scenario. Take Ice Hockey for example: coaches have been a prevalent and healthy part of the game for a very long time. Players have a ton more to focus on while playing than the overall strategy and flow of the game, as such the coach fills the void and gives their team a strategic perspective based on the entirety of the competition as the match unfolds. Not allowing Counter-Strike to embrace a similar role for coaches forces players to bear more burden and decreases the competitive integrity of the game as a whole.
What this means in the short term is that teams with strong in-game leaders will start to become frontrunners as teams that shared or entirely put the strategic burden on the coach will go through a period of adaptation. Expect the new Godsent lineup to become even more dominant than initially thought under Pronax’s wing. Unfortunately, teams like Na’Vi losing the abilities of Starix and Cloud 9 now being left in a roster crisis following the attempted move of Slemmy will suffer cruel fates in the coming months as both squads attempt to adapt to the new ruling.
Really starting to wonder what it’s going to take for players to finally realize that together they have a voice. Now the time to use it.
— Sadokist! (@Sadokist) August 17, 2016
Many thought that the ELeague v. SK Gaming fiasco would jumpstart a players union of sorts that would allow teams and players to stand together against illogical and unjust decisions that plague the eSports scene, yet the players and teams unfortunately fell quiet rather quickly, sweeping the issue under the rug for future discussion. Perhaps this frankly silly decision from Valve will draw players to stand together for the well-being of the competitive environment that they alone have fostered.