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Random Competition: What Things in Game Boil Down to Luck

1 Nov. 2020

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a competitive shooter. Consequently, random elements aren’t allowed in it — yet they do exist. CS.MONEY is here to talk about how the random element affects the game at any level to this day.


On some maps, such as Inferno or Cobblestone, there are hens running to and fro. On holidays like Christmas, the developers put hats on their heads, thus emphasizing the festive atmosphere. But actually, these seemingly harmless creatures cause a whole bunch of problems. 

The fact is they are not just textures floating in the air but real models with collisions. This means that the hens can block the view, a thrown grenade, or a shot with its body. To add to it, hens are able to interact with objects and block doors.

This is exactly what happened to Robin “ropz” Kool. During the match against SK Gaming in StarLadder i-League, a hen blocked his door and led to the Estonian player’s death. This resulted in serious losses since Robin tried to keep his weapon in the losing round. Because of the hen, he lost his AK-47, armor and helmet, and three grenades! 

Hens are an example of how a common decoration can affect the whole gameplay. It’s a pity they still can’t be disabled in the settings and continue to affect the outcome.

First Shot Spread

In the Buy menu, each weapon has a certain interesting parameter — the accurate range. A nice bar, the value is measured in meters — but what does it even mean? This parameter shows exactly from what distance the weapon will hit the enemy’s head if aiming directly at the center of that very head. 

For the AK-47, the most popular weapon in the game, the value of this parameter is slightly below 22 meters. It seems to be a lot, but in fact, it’s not. Even a perfect aim from long on Dust 2 at those coming through the double doors can lead to a miss in 1 case out of 20! With increasing distance, the chances of luck affecting the result will only increase. 

Even sniper rifles don’t guarantee a hit. On the same Dust 2, a shootout on mid with a SSG 08 will depend on the impact of the random element. The developers’ decision to introduce the first shot spread is very controversial. Instead, the development team could have introduced a more aggressive damage drop at a distance and thus adjust the balance between the guns. 

Now the AK-47 is able to one-tap at a distance of 70 meters — but it’s only able to hit for sure at a distance three times less! 

Smoke Spreading

Smoke nades are used in every match. Players use them to gain a site or fighting it off. They use them to cut off the enemy sniper’s view or put out the flames of a Molotov cocktail. A very useful thing indeed, just for 300 game bucks. But it also has a random element to it.

The fact is the smoke from this grenade is depicted on the user’s computer, not on the server. Because of this, all the players in the match see the smoke slightly differently. Usually, it doesn’t matter, but in rare cases, it gives one of the players an advantage. 

In Valorant, a recently released rival of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by Riot, this problem was solved in a radical manner. In this game, instead of the usual smoke clouds, there are impervious sphere veils with clear-cut borders. Perhaps something like that should be done in CS:GO too?

Spawn Location

Luck also affects the location of spawn at the beginning of each round. For example, attacking players on Dust 2 may spawn at one of the fifteen spots. It takes more than two seconds to cover the distance between the most convenient one and the most distanced! Definitely not negligible, considering the total size of maps in the game. 

As a result, in case of a successful coincidence, the attack may run out with a rush to B Site a few seconds earlier. This is unlikely to take the defense players by surprise, as five players will make a lot of noise, but in the case of long, a bad spawn may mean difficulties when gaining a site.

A similar situation can be observed on other maps. The place of spawn affects the time needed to get to the point of contact with the opponent. If the latter spawns at a more favorable spot at the beginning of the round, they will have a head start. A head start obtained by ordinary luck rather than by skills. 

Luck and its impact cannot be denied in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The random element renders the games more exciting and intense, but at the same time somewhat reduces the significance of skills. The more such situations where luck affects the result, the less demanding is the game as regards the player’s level. Valve could remove some of these factors, but they are still in the game, even after eight years. 

And when did the random element interfere with your performance in the game? Tell your story in the comments!

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1 Nov. 2020

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