Counter-Strike: Source, A Story of the Fallen
INSIDER ESPORTS - Insider eSports writer Dale Parducci takes a look at where the Counter-Strike: Source community has come from, and where it is now.
Counter-Strike: Source was initially released as a beta to members of the Valve Cyber Café Program on August 11, 2004. On August 18, 2004 the beta was released to owners of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and those who had received a Half-Life 2 voucher bundled with some ATI Radeon video cards. It was supposed to be the predecessor to the original Counter-Strike: 1.6, and was built in mind of the new gaming market of high-end graphics and user-friendly game play.
Valve got everything they hoped for and more, new and old players from all over the world eagerly waited for their copy of the newest game out. It was a smash in public servers, but the competitive community flourished. The competitive leagues where based identically on 1.6, the CPL adopted it for it’s tour in 2005, which is claimed by most to be the peak of the game. It had everything any player wished for, except for the dedication of the old 1.6 veterans and major sponsorships, which in the end plagued Source.
Then in 2007, came the Championship Gaming Series. The league promised professional players a large salary and the dream to having video games as a means of income while still being able to attend college, an enticing prospect for many. It was broadcasted on DirecTV and pulled major sponsors, then came the 1.6 players. North America’s most powerful 1.6 teams flocked to the CGS combine to show the transition was cake. This unfortunately left the North American 1.6 high and dry with no teams to step up against global machines like SK Gaming.
On November 18th, 2008 the CGS ceased operations. Counter-Strike communities worldwide rejoiced as their beloved players would now return to play in their local leagues. The only difference was that some former 1.6 teams had a plan for the future; complexity, team3d and jmc immediately reformed under new team names and entered 1.6 leagues, almost as if leaving Source behind without looking back. On the other hand, Source teams and players were scattered and unprepared for what they would do next, this was only the beginning…
Counter-Strike: Source had absolutely no cushion for professional players to land on, there weren’t any LAN’s to make money at and the sponsors were no where to be found. Where as 1.6 was more than ready and for the inevitable end of the CGS, the LAN scene was ready to get back into action and global events were right around the corner.
Now, after the dust has settled there is nothing left but a shattered and confused Source community asking “What’s next?” There hasn’t been a major LAN event since the last CGS combine, which was nearly a year ago. The only source of a cash prize was to participate in pay to play leagues like CEVO and ESEA, or to play in the past 2 online tournaments hosted by CEVO; which were the Alienware Winter Frag Fest, and the CS: S Redemption Tournament.
Things only got worse, controversy surrounded CEVO during the final rounds of the Alienware tournament. There were two community leaders banned for cheating in the final match of the tournament, Sam “devour” Chamma and Yazan "clowN" Ammari cheated to “counteract the cheating of KBS” who went on to win the tournament. Also, recently an overwhelming amount of players and teams where banned for cheating in only the first round of CEVO’s Redemption tournament. The ordeal left many Source players disappointed, not only in their actions but their community and what it had become.
Counter-Strike: Source not only has to deal with an ongoing cheating epidemic, but CAL recently ceased operations as part of a management change. CAL is Source’s number one league, and always has been, since Source isn’t at the competitive level that 1.6 is at, players join CAL to have fun and not have to waste money. If CAL has new plans for the games it’s hosting, and doesn’t bring back Source at all, the community will take a devastating hit, one I’m not sure it can ever recover from.
ESEA recently opened registration for the new Source division; they set a team registration limit of 64. The 1.6 divisions had absolutely no problem meeting this limit, the league eventually called for an expansion to accommodate the overwhelming amount of teams that were trying to register. Yet, the Source division failed to even meet the 64-team limit, only 58 teams signed up and 8 of those teams dropped out of the league. This dismal showing will make it difficult for ESEA to fill the rest of their divisions unlike 1.6.
These are grim days for Counter-Strike: Source; there isn’t a definitive answer to what will come of the game. The best-case scenario could be CAL picking up from where they left off, and allowing players to keep playing semi-competitively. And even this won’t be enough to stimulate a slowly dyeing community; CSPromod has been working on the newest update “CSPromod b1.04”. It is rumored to be inching closer to something that can be used in competitive play, but only time will tell.