Reaction to CS 1.6 Beta

BY Andrew Miesner / April 27, 2009

And here we all foolishly thought that Valve was through making any significant gameplay updates to CS 1.6. I myself totally welcome any new improvements or additions they make to the game, but as anyone knows, there is great potential to cause significant harm to the game as well.

This article’s principle focus is on the floodgate that was opened on April 20th, 2009 when Valve released an update to CS 1.6 and what they’ve done to address the resulting backlash from that update since then mostly due to the significant changes to the game and how it’s played. Players, as of the update, were no longer capable of jumping without making noise while they were walking or while they were standing completely still. The consequences of such a change are much more significant when you consider the consequences of team play or a player’s attempt at winning that seemingly impossible round and all that stands between himself and a possible win is that he make a small jump to get up on a ledge is no higher than the knee of a CT or T player model. This was something that just really needed to be fixed or I suppose could’ve been lived with, although with great dissatisfaction from the community, because it was just the wrong direction for the game to be taking.

Valve responded to the community outrage by releasing a CS 1.6 Beta for which they would use as a source to get much needed opinions from the community on what they thought about the changes they had made. As one of many counter-strike 1.6 fans, I obviously had enormous interest in this BETA, especially after hearing that they added a speed delay after  a player hit their crouch button. That sounded like a pretty big change that carried potential to end up being for the better, but I had to see it for myself first. In this beta, the jump noise while standing completely still has been fixed and has been made silent again, but it isn’t silent when a player starts walking then decides they want to jump. That was probably a mistake, at least I hope, and I hope things go back to the way they were.

Now on to the more interesting addition to the game that Valve has made.  I’m here to come out in full support of the addition of a speed delay after a player hits the crouch button. Although, I’m also here to come out in strong opposition to it’s current implementation. I have no qualms with it being introduced to the game, only with the way it has been done. I happen to like the idea that if a player tries to play slick by crouching around a corner in hopes of throwing off the hitboxes and then their aim doesn’t get them the desired result, then it’s alright for them to be punished a bit by being a bit slower to escape in the event that things go bad. I’m all for that.

I feel the introduction of something like this to the game is a fantastic idea. I didn’t have much of an issue with russian walking, but I still like how Valve’s new implementation of this delay punishes any attempt at gaining an advantage through this method. What I don’t support however is how something that was introduced to punish or abolish russian walking, has ended up turning into something that instead punishes the very act of crouching in Counter-Strike 1.6. Players shouldn’t be punished for performing a basic action in the game, especially when one of the main benefits of performing a crouch is improved accuracy.

This poses more of a threat to the game than even the initial update did with it’s constant crashing of the game if a player happened to hit their showscores button immediately after dying. The crouch button played a role too, but that is besides the point. Valve has already fixed that issue, but it is important that this speed delay implementation issue is taken care of before it becomes a serious issue. I was displeased when Valve first introduced the AWP delay, but once I and others actually got the opportunity to play with it a bit, we became fans of it but it’s obvious this speed delay after hitting crouch still requires some tweaking.

First things first, the delay should only exist if a player hits their crouch button while in the process of moving.  It simply shouldn’t exist if a player is standing completely still and then decides to crouch. This speed delay was implemented in the first place to combat the russian walking exploit. How can any player abuse russian walking if they are standing completely still when they hit their crouch buttons? A crucial aspect of russian walking is that the player actually needs to be in motion. This is exactly why the delay shouldn’t be there at all if a player hits crouch while standing completely still. Now there is one more very important modification to the implementation of this feature that needs to be taken into serious consideration for the sake of gameplay. One of the other crucial components of russian walking is that the player didn’t just have to be moving as they did this, but they also had to keep repeating the process which is precisely why so many players would bind crouch to their mousewheel as it made things much easier.

With this new speed delay introduced, doing that now has zero benefit because you’ll just continually slow yourself down so what am I getting at? I think that if a player is in the process of running or walking and then happens to hit the crouch button in the process, they should not be punished with the speed delay if they maintain that crouch position for 2 seconds. So if a player is running full speed ahead and then hits crouch, but maintains that position for at least 2 seconds, then when they decide they want to change their position, they should be allowed to immediately take off full speed.

With these changes,  Valve is able to achieve their primary goal while stile maintaining a high standard of gameplay. Skilled players, as they learn these rules, will soon be able to play without ever experiencing the speed delay at all. It will always be there though as a reminder and very strong deterrent against russian walking hence accomplishing the primary reason it was introduced to the game in the first place.