Molotovs & money system in CS:GO
This article is a subjective opinion piece by staff writer Tomi "lurppis" Kovanen who explains why Molotovs need to be removed from competitive play and Valve needs to make changes to the money system.
The article does not reflect the opinion of HLTV.org or its affiliates.
Players from just about every competitive CS:GO team spoke up together a month ago when Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen from Anexis and Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander brought together an article for HLTV.org with top teams' opinions.
As things often do, this of course went unnoticed by tournaments who seemingly do not care much about the players who, may I remind you, are the centerpieces of their events.
Interestingly enough, no one in Counter-Strike 1.6's history has said the Riot Shield should have been allowed in competition. Yet, while many members of today's community might not remember, back then tournaments also refused to ban it.
First event after CS 1.6's release was CPL Copenhagen, where teams all agreed to boycott the Riot Shield, which then eventually led to its dismissal from competitive Counter-Strike.
That is what needs to happen to Molotovs.
The argument heard most often from people who are pro-Molotovs isn't actually an argument for Molotovs themselves, it's just an argument for "new" things. Surely if Molotovs added more to the game than they took away, we would hear about that too?
Glad this never became a reality in competitive CS 1.6
Teams and players were forced to adapt to Molotovs thanks to event organizers who decided to group together to make unified rules, which were not, and still are not followed by every league or organization. It's a step in the right direction without a doubt, but especially when making decisions that affect so many players, it's even more important to make sure the decision is correct.
We have now seen Counter-Strike: Global Offensive played both with and without Molotovs, and the difference is like night and day. And even better, the players agree, too. It really begs the question: Are event organizers too proud to admit they were wrong? What other reason could there realistically be when just about no one wants to keep Molotovs in the game?
Molotovs were hardly used effectively as terrorists at ESWC. Most often we saw rich teams with tons of money throw Molotovs from banana to triple box in the B site of de_inferno_se, but they simply weren't used very effectively, or even often on the attacking side.
As counter-terrorists however, Molotovs, or rather Incendiary grenades, were used extremely effectively especially by Area51, n!faculty and VeryGames, based on the matches I caught. There is also little doubt that other teams will copy VG's upper Molotov defense on de_nuke_ve and perfect other aspects of using Molotovs as they head into the $45,000 tournament at DreamHack.
Much like with any other specific aspect of CS, some teams are better with Molotovs than others, but in every team they do have similar effects, and they do not please the customer, who in the way of advertisements during stream indirectly pay for the event through corporate sponsors.
Good luck rushing upper versus VeryGames
VeryGames were able to lock down the upper bombsite of de_nuke_ve versus ESC Gaming with great use of Molotovs. After building up money, Cédric "RpK" Guipouy would Molotov squeeky door for a rush, while his teammates had Molotovs primed for both connector and hut when waiting for a later terrorist execution.
Contacted by HLTV.org, former member of the infamously rush heavy 69N-28E squad and current captain of WinFakt who are attending DreamHack Winter, Joona "natu" Leppänen said he thinks Molotovs slow down the game and limit players' natural ability, thus making the experience weaker, based on what he saw during ESWC. Even Patrik "cArn" Sättermon, long time in-game leader of fnatic went on to say that Molotovs reduce the game's speed and the dynamics in strategies.
Another unhappy spectator was Björn "THREAT" Pers who has watched both DreamHack Valencia, where Molotovs were not allowed, and ESWC from home: "I could tell such a huge difference in how teams played their terrorist sides at the two events. Molotovs make it virtually impossible to rush, because you don't want to take risks like that when you can be stopped by one Molotov, regardless of how good your strategy is, rushing is out of the question for the most part, and when teams have to take much longer every round, it takes an element of the game out and makes it less entertaining to me a viewer."
When questioned directly after their semi-final loss, Area51's players also confirmed VeryGames were able to completely shut down de_train_se with help of Molotovs, as it was impossible to rush outside. Later on the whole world saw the Frenchmen do the same to NiP, who barely scraped together four rounds
You can always argue that teams can counter this and it won't work forever, but why would we want to have them included in the first place? People wanted to try them, well, now we have, and we have arrived at a conclusion.
n!faculty just guaranteed no one will come through CT spawn for 7sec
Molotovs, as I predicted months ago, are something that will only help the team that is already winning, win more, due to how expensive they are. They also make it much easier for teams to play 4-1 CT side setups on maps like de_inferno_se, as a single Molotov will slow the terrorists' attack for seven seconds.
Now imagine you're VeryGames and you're up 7-0; you have money to buy five Molotovs every round (and no, limiting the number wouldn't be fixing the problem, it would simply make it smaller - but why settle at that?) and it becomes even tougher for terrorists to win. Terrorists do not gain as much from the use of them as CTs do based on ESWC and logic.
This of course works two ways; If you watched VeryGames against Anexis you will know that the French partly fell to a tie because they kept double saving as CTs to get Molotovs, as opposed to attempting to win without them.
It obviously evens the issue out, but it's not what the spectators want to see by any stretch of imagination. We do not want rounds decided by a Molotov; we want players using their full skill with all weapons, not limited by something so grossly overpowered. Most of all, we don't want an item that only favors the team that is already winning.
"You can't have set strats or executions like you could in CS 1.6 or CS:S due to Molotovs. You can't use 45 seconds to setup for a strat that can be shut down with one $850 purchase at any time", said Sam "DaZeD" Marine of Area51.
Pers added: "with Molotovs the playstyle of my teams could never work because we could spend an hour going over a perfect execution of a strategy on any map where everything is timed and practiced to perfection, but all that hard work and preparation could be undone with a Molotov. It just doesn't make sense how much easier they make the game".
No Molotovs in Valencia. Hear anyone complain? Funny, me neither
The natural way to counter defensive Molotovs was already used by n!faculty, one of the more clever teams with them, who would begin rounds with quick fake attacks all around the map, baiting the CTs' Molotovs out and allowing them to attack safely later on in the round. It works, but it doesn't serve the spectator in any way.
This is of course the evolution to the meta game and I could go into detail of how it can keep evolving for years in the worst case scenario, but no one wants the incredibly fast skill paced CS to die simply because of an item that doesn't need to be there in the first place. There is a much, much better option, and it can be done by either the players by boycotting the item, or by events disallowing their use.
Just to clear it up, we are not trying to get Valve to remove Molotovs from the game, as some of our users have suggested. They are likely to nerf them in the future, and it's one way to go about it. However, based on almost all the players actually competing in these events, as well as a large portion of the fans following and supporting them, it's hard to make a case for why Molotovs should stay in the game.
I think CS:GO can be a very interesting game to watch as a spectator and I would much rather see matches decided by teamwork, strategies and individual skill. I don't think Molotovs can be nerfed enough to not be overpowered yet still stay relevant. And if they are, do you really want to risk the biggest event so far in CS:GO's young history on something we don't have enough time to test properly in a competitive environment? It's time to leave them behind, where we left the Riot Shield nine years ago.
CS:GO's Money system
The second issue we're going to address today is the money system in CS:GO. For the most part it's almost identical to the proven system from the earlier Counter-Strike versions, but one problem has snuck its way in.
Remember that save round by 3D versus GameOnline (GoL) at CPL Winter 2002 that changed how Counter-Strike was played? Or the article written in late 2003 by Griffin "shaGuar" Benger which made Valve step in and change the system?
Well, clearly Valve does not, at last not completely, because they didn't keep the whole change for CS:GO. What I'm talking about is of course the amount of money terrorists receive after saving their weapons.
In Counter-Strike, you would receive $0 of money after saving your weapons as a terrorist, which means you'd have to consider how much your equipment is worth because for example, you wouldn't save $2,000 worth of equipment instead of receiving $3,400 for losing the round.
team9 boosted a member on the big rock to save out at CPL Summer 2003
However, in CS:GO, you receive full money as terrorists. Now why is this a problem? Because teams not only can, but logically if they don't think they can win win a save round or take two guns out, they should save their weapons on save rounds.
Area51 was the only team to do this at ESWC, and it got them their tie versus mousesports on de_nuke_ve in the group stage, although it didn't pan out well in the semi-final against VeryGames.
By saving their weapons Area51 didn't allow mouz to cash in on their kills, meaning mouz lost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,500 in profit from the frags, as the round ended with basically no bullets fired.
That wasn't all of it though, as mouz had also purchased weaker SMGs in order to cash in on CS:GO's new money system with specific money rewards for different weapons, and were therefore stuck with the weak weapons, unable to upgrade for the first gun round.
This setup a situation where Area51 had $3,400-3,700 for a third round buy while mouz technically had won $6,500 from the two rounds, but spent $3,250 of it on four MP7s and a Bizon, thus forcing them to keep their SMGs for round three which they wound up losing, giving Area51 the next two rounds.
You can't blame Area51 for this or anyone else who chooses to do it while the possibility exists. It's in competitors' nature to find every available edge they can and use it to their advantage, as long as it's allowed and possible. That's how more and more teams will eventually start doing it, just like everyone copied the Christer "fisker" Eriksson jump onto the big red rock in CS 1.6's early days to gain a similar advantage.
Area51 mimicing 3D's footsteps nearly a decade later in CS:GO
Luckily there's an easy fix - an update to CS:GO from Valve that changes the money system so that terrorists who survive a round no longer receive money. It's important that his teammates still do, but only the people who save out, do not.
You don't of course have to take my word for it. Take the word of Spencer "hiko" Martin, member of Area51, who has so far gained the most out out of all teams from the system. Contacted by HLTV.org, Martin said he thinks it needs to be adjusted to how it was in CS 1.6 in order to keep the game more interesting for the viewers.
Once the change is implemented, we no longer have to watch teams save their glocks in terrorist spawn for almost two minutes, and play will resume to the faster, more enjoyable Counter-Strike we all enjoy watching. I mean, pending the Molotov situation.
What do you think of the changes suggested above? Would you like to see them implemented right now or possibly in the future? What would you change in CS:GO if you had a chance? Let us know in the comments below!