As the cherished relic of first-person shooters, maintaining balance in CS:GO is vital to ensure the game remains at the top of the eSports food chain. Strategic decisions are a huge part the game play; the choice of gun is a keystone variable in coming out victorious. The wrong gun bought at the wrong time could prove catastrophic, for every in-game scenario there is an optimal weapon of choice, an ideal solution to every question, but if you start adding too many right answers, you’re staring down the barrel of a meltdown.
No game publisher wants to stand by and allow their flagship game to deteriorate due to a lack of innovation – Valve are no exception to this rule. With the CS:GO Winter Update of 2015, Valve moved to introduce an additional element of strategic diversity to the game; an opportunity for players to experiment with new strategies – so began the nightmare that was the R8 Revolver.
The R8 revolver was without doubt the most godlike weapon in the game, a handgun that struck fear into even the best of players, no-one was underestimating its power
master. Initially, Valve’s innovation was appreciated by the player base, who had never experienced a new weapon in CS:GO, but it soon became apparent that the gun was ludicrously overpowered: 115 damage to anywhere on the body regardless of armor. Valve had literally implemented a one-shot golden gun, or as it quickly became known “The Pocket AWP”.
Looks like fun right? Wrong.
The gun was so broken, that in the then-upcoming ESL tournament, organisers were forced to use a version of the game which did not include the R8. The CS:GO community quickly grabbed their torches and pitchforks and demanded Valve either nerfed the gun or take it out of the game altogether. After the odd death-threat or two, Valve quickly nerfed the gun only three days later by bringing the damage output down from 115 to 86 and making the trigger pull a bit longer at 0.4 seconds. The nerf triggered a lower and lower percentage of players using the R8 Revolver and switching back to the trusty Desert Eagle. The nightmare was finally over.
In its current state, CS:GO is the eSports equivalent of a delicate eco-system, the addition of any new weapons have more potential to do harm than good. The weapons in CS:GO have very established roles in regards to where and when they should be used, as well as their counters. Introducing new weapons would severely cripple current strategies for both pro teams and the casual scrub wanting to rush B.
It’s never as straight-forward as simply adding a new weapon, other weapons would need to also be adjusted in order to make the new weapon viable – it’s like holding the fragile element Potassium in your hands, you don’t try adding anything to it unless you’re prepared for a volatile reaction. Without adjusting every other weapon, the new weapon would be either so underpowered or useless that it has no place in the game, or it would be exactly like another weapon. Which begs the question, why bother adding a new weapon in the first place?
CS:GO is as close an an FPS can come to being perfect. If Valve were to add new weapons every time they wanted to spice things up, it would become increasingly difficult to maintain the games’ delicate balance. CS:GO is an esteemed eSport not a game that just adds a plethora of new weapons just so they look nice, that’s for the casual Call of Duty player. If Valve really wants to continuously revamp Counter-Strike, then they need to keep it simple. Hint: no-one has ever complained because “There are too many cool new maps to play on” .