Operation Shattered Web brought us the ability to choose skins for both special forces and terrorists. After you select the so-called agents in the inventory, they replace the default models in the game. In just 2 operations, over 40 such skins were added.
Agents can be obtained by completing missions of the operation or in the familiar and easy way: by buying them on a marketplace. Prices of agents range between 40 and 15 dollars.
Professional players reacted extremely negatively to the idea of adding skins, or rather, to the way it was implemented. The game became more difficult to play.
Previously, all operatives had a certain color that suited the map. Now, on the other hand, an agent with its own colors can be on all maps — a nuisance that upsets the balance of the game. For instance, thanks to his green clothes, Agent “Twice” McCoy easily blends in with the bushes and vegetation on the maps Cache and Overpass.
Because esports is immensely important for the existence of CS, agents were banned from most championships after heavy criticism from pros.
Agents as seen by color-blind people
One of the most common forms of color blindness is deuteranomaly, which affects about 8% of men. People with this condition have great difficulty distinguishing between shades of red, green, brown, and orange — the very colors that are so often used in designs of agents. Let’s look at a screenshot from Dust 2 as an example:
At first glance, it might seem that A plant is clear and you can safely advance. But this is far from the case: there are 2 CTs in the screenshot, ready to meet you with open arms:
And now imagine how color-blind people might feel in this situation. Even though Valve have introduced a setting for increasing the contrast of players, people with the condition still experience discomfort due to this problem, so it’s still present.
Consequences of visual differences in agent skins
Fortunately or unfortunately, agents bring discomfort not only to those who play against them but also to their owners. This can be viewed as an ironic balance of sorts.
After all, every agent has the same hitboxes, even if the model has a visual difference. And it’s this visual difference that greatly affects the gameplay. To illustrate the issue, let’s look at terrorist agents. We’ll take agent Voltzman and compare him to the default model:
The agent is much better visible and easy to kill — there can be no two ways about it. However, this isn’t even the most absurd thing about the situation. Let’s compare this operative to a model that’s identical to the default one:
Obviously, you won’t be able to kill him because there’s no hitbox, but the visual difference lets you know where the enemy is. Then, it becomes just a matter of going around, shooting him, or simply “smoking him out.” This problem affects all agents who have a helmet or a backpack. If Valve don’t fix this issue, picking agents different from the default model simply won’t make any sense.
Solving the agent problem
Since all parties suffer from the addition of agents, Valve should fix the problem by removing the backpacks of new operatives — or simply by adding the same backpacks to every model in the game.
As to the issue of certain agent skins being at odds with the color schemes of certain maps, that can be solved by adding contrasting details to their design. For instance, the devs could change the color of their masks or armor.
The problem still remains, and it’s unknown whether Valve will change something in the game. What we can do as a close-knit community is to draw attention to the issue.
Getting this annoying problem solved will help us fully enjoy the gameplay, without worrying about getting spotted while behind a cover — or about an enemy possibly hiding in the bushes across the street.