Sam "RattlesnK" Gawn: Open letter to VALVE - Part Three
This will be a series of articles by EsportsHeaven resident columnist Sam "RattlesnK" Gawn addressing the problems in CSGO and how they could be resolved. Part three: regarding the AWP, movement, and aim punching.
The AWP in CSGO is significantly inferior to its previous versions - this is a fact. Although we have seen the addition of the silencer, the adjustment of movement speed and other small changes that I applaud I still feel there are considerable changes that are required to the AWP. I know from experience this is a particularly subjective topic as we all have our opinions whether they are right or wrong. I would therefore fully understand if people disagree with my views and I simply ask that you consider my opinion of the direction CSGO should be heading as I look into the problems I have with the current AWP mechanics.
The main issue with the AWP is the inaccuracy penalty that means that you need to wait 0.025 seconds before firing to ensure that your shot will be 100% accurate. If this was intended it seems rather bizarre as it not only makes the game more random, but it also reduces the ability for a 'top sniper' to guarantee their shot will hit. It effectively means you?re walking a tight rope where on the one hand your shot might not be accurate if you shoot too fast, and on the other hand you might wait longer for it to be completely accurate and die. I personally find both options wholly unsatisfactory as when the AWP is ready to shoot it should definitely be accurate. The whole point of spending so much money on the weapon is so that you get a gun that is 100% accurate. If you take that away the gun instantly becomes inferior and something which cannot be relied upon. It doesn't surprise me that we see countless rage posts about this issue as people are questioning the mechanics of the game despite being unaware of this problem. I know about it and have tried to adapt and I still find it impossible to be consistent. For example if I'm under pressure and scope in and immediately shoot I would assume from whatmy eyes are showing me that the weapon will be accurate as it is ready to shoot. The sad reality is that what you see is not actuallywhat you get. The AWP is consequently fundamentally broken regardless of whether you are a casual, amateur or professional player. If you're a new player or a seasoned pro your still going to be pretty annoyed when you watch a demo back and you've definitely shot someone and their not dead. I know my enjoyment levels just hit the floor as I continually become frustrated that their not dead when they should be.
I think most players would agree that you expect the bullet to go straight when the AWP has scoped in and therefore it needs to be changed. It would be easy to rectify as you could use the same numbers as 1.6 and CSS for the accuracy of the AWP when you have stopped moving. This would effectively remove the inaccuracy and mean the AWP behaves in the same fashion as the previous versions of CS. I actually thought that perhaps if VALVE had intended the inaccuracy to weaken the AWP they should instead consider adding a larger 1.6 style delay to the AWP if they wanted to nerf the weapon. I know a lot of people will state the obvious 'adapt' to the new game but frankly this isn't an area I'm going to budge on because I strongly believe any random inaccuracy is not something you want in a competitive game. If you want any further proof feel to witness the effects for yourself by using weapon_debug_spread_show '1' in console.
Moreover, the addition of the blur to the AWP while moving makes it much harder to be an aggressive AWPer when you cannot see your crosshair. The fact is that anyone who decides to charge around with an AWP will not be able to see their crosshair until the cool down ends. This means instead of having an opportunity to put your crosshair on your opponent you may potentially have to take an estimated guess of where your crosshair is when you take a shot. Oh, and don't forget that additionally you're going to have the inaccuracy problem because you were previously moving around. This is clearly a problem because it reduces the versatility of the AWP and its effectiveness when put to use in a more aggressive manner. I'm not saying it's not possible because it is, I am merely stating that percentage wise you are less likely to purchase an AWP to be used in an aggressive manner than when you compare it to previous versions of CS. What makes this worse is how VALVE recently changed the crosshair blur to occur when you are walking which consequently means you have to crouch walk to get a crosshair to appear. How can this possibly make sense that you can crouch move with a crosshair but not walk? It simply reaffirms what I am saying about making it harder to aggressively AWP because your opponent will be set up with a crosshair while you are effectively no scoping as you walk around corners.
The cs:go AWP blur in action
The question I ask is whether this is a positive or negative outcome as I believe VALVE have significantly damaged the ability to AWP offensively. It should surely not be the case where we often see teams buying five rifles instead of an AWP because they feel it is not a worthwhile investment to risk buying an AWP for a certain strategy or style of play. I can tell you from experience this has already become the case in CSGO where teams disregard the AWP in favor of everyone using rifles. If you said this before CSGO I don't think I would have believed it possible but this is where we have come to. I really believe that we need to address the situation by removing AWP blur so we once again see more exciting styles of AWPing flourish.
In the same way the kill reward being set at $100 for the AWP further exacerbates the fact that the AWP has been nerfed by VALVE. They seem to have decided the weapon is too powerful and therefore it should be harder for players to acquire. This seems suitable when you consider your teammates will be using rifles and earning $300 per kill so they may be able to drop an AWP for you. However, all it realistically means is that yet again the AWP player for any team is making even more sacrifices to build up his cash levels than ever before. I often ran low on money and ended up purchasing an AWP without any grenades with $100 kill bonus whereas with $300 I was able to make sure I always had a flash or smoke. It probably seems relatively small but it certainly impacts on a round when you lose a grenade that could get a few extra kills. If you consider on public when you want to practice your AWPing or even a solo competitive match the fact you get so little money for a kill means you're not going to be able to buy an AWP very often. It all leads me to the same conclusion, VALVE doesn't want us having AWPs that much anymore and they certainly want them to be less effective. I really wish this view changed and $300 kill bonus was brought back because it just makes sense. All players should be getting the same reward for a primary weapon kill regardless of what gun is used because it is fair and ensures all players receive the same amount of money without being penalised. The game was always balanced with these figures in the past and it would be now. I actually thought that VALVE might believe AWP players get more kills and so their reward needs to be reduced, however this is clearly not the case and if you take the risk to buy an AWP you should surely gain some kind of monetary advantage.
Furthermore, the AWP most definitely has a strong history throughout CS of how it has functioned in both 1.6 and CSS that has made it one of the most famous weapons in the FPS genre. As I see it, there really was no reason to change the style of AWP from its predecessors because it has been shown throughout history to work. It has also built up a reputation over a ten year period for how it performs and is supposed to be used. I might sound a bit archaic with this statement but I feel in CSGO this has been destroyed by the way the gun has been transformed as I know if I wanted a different sniper rifle I would play a different game. I fully understand that VALVE wants to put their stamp on CSGO and by changing the AWP in this way they probably feel it becomes more 'their' game. However, as I stated before, I find it inherently wrong to call the game CS and then ignore how the weapon has functioned over the previous ten years. It really needs to be adjusted to run in line with the previous versions so we have some consistency and maintain the elements of CS that I personally fell in love with.
The AWP had major roles in 1.6 and CS:S, but in CS:GO there are still several issues with the most important weapon of the game.
As far as the movement goes with the AWP there are significant issues which make it harder to be consistent with your shots than compared to other versions of CS. For a start the acceleration speed of a player's model means they often glide out as if they are on ice skates when they come out from corners at full speed. Contrastingly, if you hold a wider angle you succumb to the inevitable problem of quick peeking which means the enemy can get a good view of you and perhaps a few shots off before you can react. These were always acceptable options for a rifler post-CSGO but what I find is that within CSGO their success rate is far superior because of the mechanics of the game. It's much easier to bait out a shot without committing yourself and likewise less predictable when a player will stop when they come out from a corner. This all means it is harder to decide where to put your crosshair and to predict what decision your opponent is going to make. If you don't guess right you're probably going to have a tough time hitting that shot as consistently as you did in other versions of the game. This problem is amplified when you look at crouching as you can actually get the gliding crab effect whereby a player slides out along the ground if you hit it right. You can do this with an AWP to your advantage but I'm not sure it could be considered a positive thing as it just shows the flaws in the movement within CSGO. If this wasn't enough, VALVE actually reduced the movement speed of AWPers instead of everyone which means it's harder to aggressively peek as you move slower with an AWP out. I don't see how this was a positive move when I've shown that aggressive AWPing has become increasingly more difficult due to the changes VALVE have already made. I guess life just got that much more difficult again!
I actually found it was hard to think of a single solution to this problem as it was hard to identify the exact problem with the movement without knowing a great deal about the movement values and how it has been developed. I would suggest a step forward would be to consider the ESEA movement values which clearly state the problem surrounding CSGO movement acceleration and just how fast the current movement actually is. I've tested the values myself and I can whole heartedly say it resolves some of the issues with the AWP because rifle movement is significantly reduced. I've only heard a few professional players suggest they wouldn't like to at least try the values out so I believe VALVE should give them a chance. It seems a simple enough solution to implement when someone else has done most of the groundwork and explained how and why it improves upon the current values.
Furthermore, I believe the current jump penalty (when you hit the ground) and screen bobble when combined with the AWP inaccuracy make it practically impossible to use any kind of jump peeking as a viable technique. It really is extremely difficult to pull off and the most likely scenario it will work is only when your opponent is caught out and you get a lucky bullet that is accurate. It tends to work slightly better when you normally jump rather than crouch jumping because you can stop your model in the air to make your opponent miss. However, the problem is that you end up with no crosshair because you're moving in the air and even after you land your screen bobbles up and down. It ends up with you thinking you're in a moving car rather than just a guy that jumped out and should be ready to shoot. I find this aspect to be quite annoying as it was a technique I used in both 1.6 and source to surprise people and get a quick kill when they weren't expecting it. I can understand the slow movement penalty you get from jumping because that's your punishment for taking a calculated risk but I would advocate that this should still be removed for both rifles and AWPers. This would allow players to outsmart their opponents using their movement as they could jump out from ledges, roofs and high up areas that would make them harder to hit as they move through the air. At the moment you really get punished for jumping at any point and this makes it significantly harder to enter bombsites or make an entry frag. I don't think it would be so detrimental to AWPers if rifles had no jump penalty because hitting players who are mid air seems relatively easy in CSGO.
Lastly, toward aim punch I really feel now is the time for this problem to finally get fixed. It annoys me even more when I'm using an AWP because it constantly bounces my crosshair when I'm getting tagged so it is impossible to aim. The whole premise of aim punch was meant for when you had no armour and therefore when you pay for head and body armor there should be no aim punch at all. If you buy body armour you should get aim punched when your headshot and if you have no armour at all you should suffer the full aim punch. This is clearly how the game should work and currently it simply does not. I spend countless games being aim punched with no real prospect of fighting back despite buying my $1000 armour that is supposed to protect me from these very issues. At the moment teams are manipulating the money system by buying without armour to crush people's money as the aim punch is only slightly worse than when you have full armour. This should not be the case. It needs to be that you have to buy armour to ensure you will never get aim punched as this makes it more important than buying any grenades. I actually find it makes the game less skilled when you can spray and hit someone and bounce their aim and they cannot reply. Surely it would be more skilled if you had armour and then you didn't get aim punched so when you are sprayed at you still remain accurate and can put one bullet in their head. That would truly be a more skillful game than currently where everyone is spraying at each other and hoping they're the first one to aim punch their opponent. I know this is how the game should be and therefore I pray VALVE see sense and make the adjustments to aim punch that are required.