Narrative reasons as to why Valve should fix the economy

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

At some point in the past I wrote why fixing the CS:GO economy was important. As I was watching Counter-Points, SPUNJ revealed that he had a talk with Valve about forcebuy rounds. Valve apparently wanted forcebuys/ecos to have a 4/10 winrate against rifles. The reason for this is because Valve thought it was boring to watch otherwise.

I usually don’t bother to analyze gameplay mechanics from a narrative lens because I don’t think they have a proper place when talking about these sorts of changes. But since Valve was serious, I’ll explain why this is terrible thinking.

Every good novel, every good story, must have rises and falls in action as you need to build up the plot, characters, foreshadowing and then the better you do this, the better the payoff. “Gladiator” might have a lot of action throughout, but it builds over time. It slowly sets up the stakes of the characters until it hits the climax of the movie. Every good story in every medium I can think of uses this so that while the lows are boring, they build up for a bigger climax.

A competitive game is like that. It has crests and troughs. It has low action, building action and climax action. The highs will be all the higher because the audience knows that this is the round where everything matters. In the current state of CS:GO with how viable the forcebuys are, Valve has essentially given the direction of the movie to Michael Bay. It’s all action as teams keep trading forcebuy wins because of how viable they are. There is no natural subtle building of story or economy, it’s all fight. It makes the average round more exciting and “special”, but you can’t get that big pay off at the end.

I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to have a Michael Bay game of CS every once in a while, but we’re getting closer and closer to the point where they all become like that. If you make every round exciting, eventually you realize that none of them is.

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers.

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