ANALYSIS: Valve Urgently Need To Address The Gun Balance Issues

Chris Hills

Counter-Strike having its genesis in being a Half-Life mod, has always been a game driven in a very large part by the community – the games meta is not excluded from this jurisdiction. Yet in recent years, Valve has taken a more active interest in the game’s growth and how it functions. This is very good for the most part, but some of their aims can sometimes clash with how the community envisage the future of Counter-Strike.

Various Valve decisions, such as the infamous coaching rule in the summer of last year, can often steal too much of the limelight away from the game itself. Similarly, Valve’s thirst for gun balance has once again left the community scratching their heads. Specifically, the viability of certain guns and subsequent attempts to increase viability for certain weapons have thrown a spanner in the works of CS:GO’s delicate game balance.

The extreme example of gun balance going horribly wrong was the fabled introduction of the R8 Revolver. When Valve introduced it into the game, it arrived as part of a major update which also welcomed nerfs to the moving accuracy of every pistol (except for the Desert Eagle) and nerfs to spraying for the AK47 and both M4 rifles.

The R8 cost just $850 and was so overpowered that it essentially rendered the game unplayable for the first few days before Valve nerfed it back down to the ground. The nerfs to the pistols and rifles exacerbated what was already a huge issue and the implementation of the R8 was a baffling move.

Just a week or so after the nerf to the R8, to many people’s surprise, Valve reverted the nerfs to the rifles and pistols. They have since implemented far better changes to the way in which spraying works for the AK47 and M4s, but the pistols remain unchanged. This is particularly odd because currently, both M4s cost $3,100 and cannot one shot kill anyone who is full health at any range (even with a headshot), but at certain ranges, the P250 (a $300 gun) can.

This is a glaring balance issue and doesn’t even include the fact that many in the community would agree that the Tec9 is still an insanely powerful pistol (and only costs $500).

The SMGs and how they function are also fairly questionable. During the recent ELeague Major, the UMP was bought fairly often when players could not afford a rifle but still wanted to buy a gun. Being only $1,200, and with its level of viability, the UMP is a currently very good weapon; the gun’s high usage at the major itself may lead to it getting some kind of nerf.

CS:GO is unique because of the way in which the in-game economy works, and a large part of the gun balance revolves around its pricing (hence the R8 being so powerful when it was added to the game). With the high viewer numbers at the ELeague Major and the unique player count reaching over 11 million last month, Valve will definitely continue to defy those who claim that CS:GO is a dead game. With that in mind, it brings some hope that the gun balance issues will eventually be addressed and fixed.

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