Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Valve's CounterStrike:GO Isn't Ready for Free-To-Play Gaming

Counter-Strike : Global Offensive - Why Valve's Competitive FPS is Growing so Quickly, and the One Reason it Should Not Go F2P Yet

The reason Counter-Strike is one of the longest lasting, most popular games on the planet is because it emphasizes something many modern game developers seem to not understand - money spent should have absolutely no influence on in-game performance. The second the developer starts to add perks that improve gameplay to customers who pay more, it breaks the game, frustrates players, and the community chokes itself out.

I'm not on a anti-capitalist rant here, I'm suggesting that don't mess with in-game mechanics to make a quick buck, and your game will have the opportunity to make more in the long run and create a real competitive pool with a giant fanbase.

So, instead of doing the aforementioned to make big $s, what does Valve do? The explanation is in this VGCats comic strip. Go read that and come on back, I'll be waiting.

...You're back? Cool.


It's no surprise that two of the most successful F2P games on the planet, Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2, are Valve products. I wrote an article about this a while back on another site: http://www.ycadmarketing.com/2012/10/valves-lessons-on-their-free-to-play.html

While the systems are slightly different, because TF2 items can have different properties that affect the game and CS items are purely cosmetic, the idea remains the same: make a good product with items/drops that don't break the balance of multiplayer gameplay, and loyal players will shell out money to customize their character. Also, cut your players a little portion of the profits in the form of items and store credit regardless of whether they pay or not. They're all paying with their time, making your game more profitable and enjoyable through a larger pool of players, don't forget that.

Tactical.
A Little Backstory:

 I was one of the earliest adopters of Steam, back when it was taken with as much enthusiasm as EA's horrid Origin platform, just to play games like Day of Defeat and Team Fortress, but the main reason was to play Counter-Strike, originally a mod for the first Half-Life. Not to sound like a hipster douche, but I played CS before version 1.0... back then, the only map we really played was de_dust, and we LIKED it that way! (whippersnapper.)

Took several years off, played Source almost exclusively for fy_iceworld and GunGame maps (currently known as Arms Race), stopped again due for personal reasons (you're getting fragged by a sight-challenged person, did I mention that?), and jumped into Global Offensive a little over a month ago. I've had to relearn a lot of stuff, and at the time of this article being published, am sitting at Gold Nova II.

Current CS:GO competitive ranks.
Gold Nova I is the equivalent of having a Karate Black Belt (eg: congrats, you just mastered basic mechanics!)

So, what is the main difference between CS:Global Offensive and the past two iterations?

It's not graphics (although, check picture below, the new graphics are pretty), it's not the improved capabilities of weapons that aren't the M4, AK, AWP, and DEagle, it's certainly not the core gameplay mechanics, it's the addition of the competitive match making system.



Ex-1.6 Pro and current GO player SiderMan1 with an excellent review:

I can give some good advice here--I think.

I was a professional CS 1.6 player...stopped playing for a very long time because of a change in the game type I / my friends were interested in and the complete dislike for CS:Source.

CS:GO takes the element most admired by higher caliber players, the scrimming 5v5 format, and brings it to the forefront. In the beta, there are a couple of mods that are fun for a late night drunken play (arms race, as example) but the core / match ranked games are really entertaining to play.

Having it be in a 5v5 format all games creates a lot more tense situations. First team to 16 wins (both sides) win the match and that team gets more points for the match making.

The game plays a lot more like 1.6 than I thought it would. Grenades are thrown like source and some of the guns behave awkwardly but those are things you can get used too.

I've docked 50+ hours on the Beta and am looking forward to the public release and constant tweaks from Valve to make it better.

I would say for this price, if you have interest in CS at all---buy it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now, with the integrated competitive system in place, the ability to stream and monetize gameplay becoming easier, and international competition with big-name sponsors becoming a regular occurrence, Counter-Strike is again poised to take the lead in competitive FPS gaming.

So, with so many players joining, and the marketplace grows ever larger, why doesn't Valve make CS Free-to-Play like TF2 and DOTA2?

My theory? The drastic effect cheating has on Counter-Strike over the other games.

Think Aimbots and Wallhacks is a tiny problem? Read this:
http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/04/30/hacks-an-investigation-into-aimbot-dealers-wallhack-users-and-the-million-dollar-business-of-video-game-cheating/

Take it from some folks more experienced than I on the subject in this Reddit /r/GlobalOffensive thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/1cm0qg/counterstrikeglobal_offensive_and_the/

In a top down RTS game like DOTA, where the core mechanics have more to do using basic algebra and statistics to micromanage actions that your avatar plays out, cheating may only present a small advantage, like a casino adding an extra 0 on the roulette table. On the other hand, cheating drastically breaks FPS gameplay mechanics that are more based upon reaction time and accuracy, like bringing a grenade to a water balloon fight.

This is what cheating in CS looks like:




The current system to keep hackers at bay is a combination of Valve's VAC (Valve Anti Cheat), which took some flak recently for sending a user's DNS cache to Valve's servers for monitoring (turned out to be misleading, but was big enough for Gabe Newell himself to come down and explain things), and something called "Overwatch," which is a system where real players who are deemed experienced enough volunteer their time and review footage of players suspected of cheating.

Here is a pretty solid overview on how to spot cheaters in Counter-Strike:



So, the system seems to be made to auto-detect when it can, but for the newest wave of cheats, they must trust the opinion of people who both report an individual and the Overwatchers who make the call. Now, given statistical generalizations of human behavior like the 80/20 rule and the like, it should be expected that the number of people who care enough to report and volunteer their time watching replays would not be the majority of the players. This means that opening the floodgates to cheaters by making CS F2P would overburden the in-game "justice system,"as well as increase the chances of false positives harming innocent players.

So, to maintain the community, some kind of barrier to entry must be preserved in order to create an opportunity cost for the troll who wants to ruin other people's good times, and keeping a non-zero price is a good start.

In a picture you may have seen earlier, Valve's F2P model revolves around a few core principles:

- Avoid Pay to Win in PvP
- Avoid inventing an unnecessary virtual currency
- Let people have fun without paying
- People are more comfortable buying items than we thought
- It's worth it to cut your community in on the deal

Basically, the impact of hackers flooding the pool would be big enough to break the third rule down - it wouldn't even be "Let people have fun," just "let's just try to keep our real players from getting frustrated and rage quitting."

So.
Will CS ever go fully F2P? 

Maybe when Valve's Anti-Cheat System is darn near flawless and can compensate for false-positives with precision. Who knows.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say on the subject, thanks for reading.

Are you a CS player? I just might be willing to trade you a clan logo for keys. 

14 comments:

  1. Concept of Kim Kardashian Hollywood Cheats game is very interesting. Your role is to go from totally anonymous to celebrity with help and tips of Kim Kardashian herself! Kim kardashian hack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AFFORDABLE LOAN OFFER

      Are you financially down? Do you need a loan to start up business of pay off bills? we offer all kinds of financial assistance to every individuals "Business loan and personal loan, for investment, debt consolidation and house purchase etc." we will be willing to offer you the loan. Offer is affordable at an interest rate of 2%;this Funding program allows our client to enjoy low interest payback for as low as 2% per annul for a period of 2 months - 50 years. We can approve a loan/funding for a minimum of 5,000.00 up to 20,000,000.00 depending on the nature of business. but before we can proceed with the loan,if interested contact us now : {jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com}

      Delete
    2. Testimony of Restoration with the help of Martinez Lexie(Lexieloancompany@yahoo.com OR +18168926958)..

      I have been in financial mess for the past months, I'm a single mum with kids to look after. My name is Renee Joan Rothell, and am from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. A couple of weeks ago My friend visited me and along our discussion she told me about Mr Martinez Lexie of ( Lexieloancompany@yahoo.com ); that he can help me out of my financial situation, I never believed cause I have spend so much money on different loan lenders who did nothing other than running away with my money. She advised, I gave it a try because she and some of her colleagues were rescued too by this Godsent lender with loans to revive their dying businesses and paying off bills. so I mailed him and explain all about my financial situation and therefore took me through the loan process which was very brief and easy.. After that my loan application worth 78,000.00 USD was granted, all i did was to follow the processing and be cooperative and today I am a proud business owner sharing the testimony of God-sent Lender. You can as well reach him through the Company website: http://lexieloans.bravesites.com OR text: +18168926958


      Delete
    3. HOW EDWARD LOAN COMPANY GRANTED ME A BUSINESS LOAN!!!

      Hello everyone, I am Oliver Johnson Moore from Zurich Switzerland and want to use this medium to express gratitude to EDWARD JONES for fulfilling his promise by granting me a loan, i was stuck in a financial situation and needed to refinance and pay my bills as well as start up a Business. I tried seeking for loans from various loan firms both private and corporate organisations but never succeeded and most banks declined my credit request. But as God would have it, i was introduced by a friend named Lisa Rice to EDWARD JONES LOAN COMPANY and undergone the due process of obtaining a loan from the company, to my greatest surprise within 28hrs just like my friend Lisa, i was also granted a loan of $387,000.00; So my advise to everyone who desires a loan, "if you must contact any firm with reference to securing a loan online with low interest rate of 2% and better repayment plans/schedule, please contact EDWARD JONES LOAN COMPANY. Besides, he doesn't know that am doing this but due to the joy in me, i'm so happy and wish to let people know more about this great company whom truly give out loans, it is my prayer that GOD should bless them more as they put smiles on peoples faces. You can contact them via email on {Jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com} or Text +1(307) 241-3712

      Delete
  2. Graphics cards are now starting to get more computing power than ever. Calculating two images while keeping up a decent framerate, is starting to become feasible. A 3D monitor could be used to display the images computed by the 3D graphics card. To truly see the three dimensional effect, you will also have to wear 3D glasses just as you would watching a movie. free nba 2k16 locker codes

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keep in mind that just because an online seller has one card that is cheaper than elsewhere doesn't mean that all their cards are cheaper. Shopping online for video gaming cards is a lot more convenient than going around all the shops. best gaming monitor

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love to play CS:GO, and i am a noob in this game. I think i need to change a cool skins to my weapon.

    __________
    CSGO skins buy with cheap price.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How My Life Was Transform by Mr Martinez Lexie....

    My Name is Nicole Marie from Ohio, United State and life is worth living comfortably for me and my family now and i really have never seen goodness shown to me this much in my life, As i am a struggling mum with two kids and i have been going through a serious problem as my husband encountered a terrible accident last two weeks, and the doctors stated that he needs to undergo a delicate surgery for him to be able to walk again and i could not afford the bills for his surgery then i went to the bank for a loan and they turn me down stating that i have no credit card, from there i ran to my father and he was not able to help me, then when i was browsing through yahoo answers i came across a God fearing man (Mr Martinez Lexie) who provides loans at an affordable interest rate and i have been hearing about so many scams on the Internet mostly Africa, but at this my desperate situation, i had no choice than to give it an attempt due to the fact that the company is from United State of America, and surprisingly it was all like a dream, i received a loan of $82,000.00 USD and i payed for my husband surgery and thank GOD today he is ok and can walk, my family is happy and i said to myself that i will shout to the world the wonders this great and God fearing Man Mr Martinez Lexie did for me and my family; so if anyone is in genuine and serious need of a loan do contact this GOD fearing man via Email: ( Lexieloancompany@yahoo.com ) or through the Company website: http://lexieloans.bravesites.com OR text: +18168926958 thanks


    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello every one please i will like to talk about the goodness of GOD in my life after so many months of trying to get a loan on the internet and was scammed the sum of $1,800 i became so desperate in getting a loan from a legit lender online then a friend told me that there is a legit loan company where he got his loan fast and easy without any stress so he introduced me to a Man called Edward Jones Jr , So i applied for a loan sum of ($60,000.00) with low interest rate so the loan was approved and deposited into my bank account that was how i was able to get my loan and i was able to pay off my bills. i am advising every one who is interested in getting a loan fast and easy to kindly contact them via email: { jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com}, So thanks as you read the greatest testimony of my life and thanks be to GOD almighty for his goodness upon my life.

    Lindsey Tyler

    ReplyDelete
  7. CS - is the game of my childhood. I could play this game all day long. My favorite weapon - M16. Thanks to the website - cybbet.com where I can watch streams and bet for a victory.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you play CS: GO and want to open CS GO cases without keys, use Kuycase.com to unlock your containers profitably.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A BIG THANK YOU EDWARD JONES LOANS {Jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com}

    Hi my names are Nathan MacDonald, i was really in financial difficulty which affected my life negatively and my company savings was seriously depleted and we needed help but no one could help us out even the company direct main bank could not even risk to help us because we were at bottom low. My life was a mess and my wife needed a devious, I almost went mad, then decided to look for one way or the other to revive my company but no one was willing to help until i got to know about a prestigious loan company Edward Jones Loan Finance, whom have helped a lot of aliening company in the past and assisted a lot of individual financial. So i decided to request for help and to my greatest surprise they were just as everybody were talking about. they helped me with my loan with a very low interest rate of 2% and now my life is back to normal and i still got back my wife and kids. Am very thankful with the help of Edward Jones Loan Finance and if you are looking for a way to get a loan for one means or an other , your best choice is Edward Jones Loan Finance and you can contact them via email : {Jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com} or Text +1(307) 241-3712

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you DR BLESSING for your genuine and powerful love spells. I'm Lilian by name. From California This is really incredible, and I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life. Before i met you Sir, i have tried every probable means that i could to get my husband back, but i actually came to realize that nothing was working out for me, and that my husband had developed lot of hatred for me.. I thought there was no hope to reunite with my husband. But when i read good reviews about how DR BLESSING helped others, I decided to Email him at blessingspiritualtemple@gmail.com to give it a try and i did everything that he instructed me and i Trusted in him and followed his instructions just as he have guaranteed me in 24 hours, and that was exactly when my husband called me..Sir We are more contented now than ever. Everything looks perfect and so natural! Thank you so much Sir for your authentic and indisputable spells. here again his
    contact details you too can be blessed with his work

    Email; blessingspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    whatsapp, +1(951)409-0694

    Thanks Sir for your help.

    ReplyDelete