My last column highlighted an issue that is bubbling up behind the scenes among many top professional Counter-Strike teams. Players are feeling a level of exhaustion that they haven’t felt before, despite not having traveled in over three months. That sentiment has since started to surface in public via the teams themselves, which subsequently prompted a tweet from the CSPPA. In our current state, this trend will only continue after the upcoming player break and demands further discussion.
CS:GO has been played online since its inception, but not in the same way it is being played now. Previously, teams would play in online regular season leagues in the hopes of qualifying the playoffs that were played offline. In a pandemic-stricken world, teams are now playing both parts of the event online. It doesn’t stop there, though, because one-off tournaments held by DreamHack, cs_summit, and BLAST are also being played online.
It’s important to mention that it’s a blessing we are still able to watch our game being played professionally while the rest of the world is still hoping their favorite sport will be played again in 2020. But if teams have no time to actually practice or innovate it really is just mindless, repetitive, and harmful to the players and prestige of these tournaments. Multiple sources have explained to me that most teams don’t really have time to work on anything new. Some teams aren’t even practicing, due to the endless amount of matches on the table. If we are stuck in this open ended era of uncertainty, it would almost certainly be better to keep players fresh and allow them to experiment for when offline play and travel resumes.
There is no easy answer on how to accomplish that without hurting most of the stakeholders involved. Team organizations have their contractual commitments to most tournament organizers, while those organizers have their commitments to sponsors. Everyone has to try and keep their businesses afloat, so there is a ton of understandable selfishness. Finally, attempting to spread tournaments out over a longer duration would only result in calendar conflicts. However, something has to give you will see more and more players going the gla1ve and xyp9x route.
Fortunately for the players, their mandated month long break is coming soon, but I fear the same result will happen later in the year if offline play doesn’t resume. I don’t see a world in which another LAN is played in 2020, which means a large chunk of events toward the end of the year will also exist online. Due to the extremely abnormal situation we are in, concessions should be made all around so players are not harmed during this period.