It is very difficult to imagine the eSports industry without Counter Strike.
This game that started as a mod for Half-Life has become a cult and a phenomenon that has developed one of the most impressive eSports scenes in the industry.
Magnificent and prestigious leagues are accompanied by the roar of millions of fans that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
For a computer game that many claim is considered among the pioneers of the eSports scene as we know it today.
And what is amazing about the whole business, is that it was originally released more than two decades ago.
True, it has had updates and new versions, (with its last, Global Offensive, released in 2014) and just recently Valve announced a new version.
But even after two decades, Counter Strike is still Counter Strike.
And it has survived since the beginning of the millennium and still manages to break records.
Just last month it gained more than 1.5 million active players.
A game between two decades!
In today's industry this is not only impressive.
This is amazing.
There are games that don't survive even a few years.
So how does such an old game manage to give a fight to newer competitors in the eSports scene like League of Legends, Dota 2, Overwatch, Rainbow Six or all the other more recent competitive games?
We are here to try to dig deep and understand what makes Counter Strike so immortal.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (photo: official website, Valve)
There's no getting away from it, but Counter Strike, at its core, is good.
Even if it is very simple or outdated by today's standards.
I will argue that it is even on the border of perfect.
It is easy to learn it, it is more difficult to master it and its subtleties.
This simplicity is its advantage.
It is basic enough for any player to be able to enter it and understand it very quickly.
After all, the game hasn't changed since the day it was released.
Team A against Team B, with the goal being to eliminate the opposing team or plant the bomb.
as simple as that.
From here, of course, there are additional steps: getting to know the weapons and the map, understanding the meta, practice, developing strategies, but there is that in every game.
Here, the basics are simple and understandable for any player at any level.
While there are those who underestimate this outdated foundation, it is a fact that it has already proven itself over two decades.
And you can notice that Valve applies this simple foundation to all of their games.
Both Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead keep gameplay principles simple to understand.
Only after their success did we see competitors who "draw inspiration", but give some kind of their own twist.
Usually this twist comes in the form of special abilities or additional tasks, and this is where things start to get complicated.
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Counter Strike 2 (Photo: screenshot, Valve)
New games like Valorant kept the base of Counter Strike gameplay.
After all, it's not for nothing that Valorant is called "Counter Strike meets Overwatch. And if we've already mentioned Overwatch - here's an example of a game that drew inspiration from Team Fortress. It of course added its own twists and elements - but the base cannot be denied. Ditto Also for Valorant.
Both may use a similar base, but all the extras around can make it difficult for new players.
This means that in order to succeed, a player has to persist in these games much more than the accepted norm.
And we haven't even mentioned frequent updates, buffs and nerfs to characters and abilities that are released regularly and make such and such meta changes to the gameplay.
This is another element that makes it difficult for players to keep up.
Counter Strike compared to them, still remains the same and hardly changed.
And that's also because Valve doesn't bother to update it and satisfy the demands of the community.
I'm half laughing, half crying.
I'm all broken.
Valorant (photo: official website, Riot Games)
Counter Strike 2 (announced last weekend) will be released as a free update, and the new Source 2 game engine will introduce significant improvements to the visuals with a more modern and detailed look. Some of the innovations revealed are a responsive smoke system for the game world. More accurate synchronization between the players and the dwell times and reactivity in the network.
The changes are not far-reaching, but they are certainly significant and maintain basic principles, which mainly open up new competitive opportunities. Counter Strike 2 may not reinvent the wheel, but it is certainly expected to last a very long time time, and it will probably remain at the top of the eSports leagues for a long time. Now let's just hope that Valve will nurture and update it more than its predecessor. And that they will already release Half-Life 3 in virtual reality!
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