An eagerly-awaited update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) launched this week, but it wasn’t exactly what players were expecting.
In fact, it was far worse than even the biggest pessimist may have feared.
For the first time in Counter-Strike history, Valve released equippable agents, allowing for visual character customization beyond CS:GO’s infamous weapon skins. The addition was a great accessory to the game.
At least in theory.
CS:GO players were excited about the update, but they’re finding that the new character models are disrupting the competitive flow of matches. Between the map textures and custom agents, enemies can very easily blend into the foreground.
So just how severe is it? Take a look at this screenshot from French CS:GO caster Sr’K playing on Overpass.
In case you’re wondering, yes, there is actually an enemy on screen in the image above.
One of the first to publicly address the new models was Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski of Team Liquid.
“I am color blind and I have been having some difficulties distinguishing some of the models from the backgrounds in some cases,” EliGE said in a Reddit post.
He’s far from the only critic.
Community map creator Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling described the issue as “game breaking,” while FACEIT Creative Director James Bardolph outlined “a significant visibility problem” caused by the new feature.
With the ECS Season 8 Finals kicking off next week and $500,000 at stake, tournament officials have stepped in to handle the matter without Valve.
Alongside the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA), FACEIT’s Director of Esports Roald Van Buuren announced the tournament would not permit the use of custom character models.
The decision should help preserve the tournament’s integrity. However, without an official statement from the developers, questions still loom.
It’s very likely that player visibility with new agent models was just a glaring oversight by Valve. With the size and caliber of Counter-Strike’s bustling esports ecosystem, though, a change is desperately needed soon.
More worrisome is that this blunder follows years and years of Valve tinkering with Counter-Strike’s DNA.
CS:GO is one of the most tactically advanced and sound first-person shooters in existence. The game’s “meta” is incredibly delicate. Constant tweaks to Counter-Strike’s weapons, economy, and maps often have unintended consequences.
Historically, Valve hasn’t had its ear very close to the ground when it comes to responding to critical flaws associated with CS:GO updates. However, the Counter-Strike community is loud and clear on this issue, and with a number of key tournaments coming up next month, a speedy resolution may be inescapable.
On the other hand, at least the character customization controversy has distracted players from the never-ending SG 553 (Krieg) rifle fiasco .