Addressing the Arguments Supporting the Rifle Nerf: A Comprehensive Post
Wall of text incoming. TL;DR at the bottom of the page
Intro: After browsing the subreddit and participating in/lurking around numerous discussions addressing the rifle nerf, I have created a comprehensive write-up detailing and refuting arguments that justify and rationalize Valve's decision to nerf the rifles. Everything is assuming that the overall goal of participants is for a higher skill ceiling in the game. If your vision of Counterstrike is to have skill play a lesser role, then you do not need to read on as this will not apply to you.
1: "Valve is trying to make the AUG/SG more viable": Here's the thing, the AUG and SG were never bad weapons to pick up. A big part of the reason why they are not popular is because there exists a more versatile tier of rifles directly below them for cheaper the price. The AUG and SG have always been superior at long ranges. Why? Because there is a scope that artificially reduces recoil and increases accuracy. They are extremely easy to shoot because of it, and as a result they have earned stigmas as being "COD guns," which sounds petty and immature, but is actually a perfectly valid comparison. One dimension of aim in CSGO is the ability to control recoil, and by having the scope do it for you, a large chunk of aiming skill is removed from the game. When the game reaches a state where the AUG/SG are preferable to the AK/M4, then the skill ceiling is lowered because the importance of one skill aspect is decreased.
2: "Well the AWP and SSG have scopes too": Yes. But they're weapons balanced in a completely different manner. This is a very poor comparison as the AWP and SSG are bolt-action rifles. Although I do think that the SSG is a bit overpowered for its price, but just a bit. The AUG and SG are automatic weapons capable of sustained fire so this is a misguided comparison.
3: "Aim isn't the only component of skill in CSGO": Correct. It just happens to be one of the many dimensions of skill, and an important one at that. If you dumb down any dimension of skill to any degree, you are lowering the skill ceiling.
4: "All weapons should be viable": All weapons, with the exception of several niche cases, are already viable. That does not mean that all weapons have an equal shot at outdueling each other. Why? Because CS has an economy system and also derives its balance from that. Guns are powerful proportional to their costs, relative to the costs of other weapons. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general that's how CS should be balanced or else there is no point to the economy system, which is in place to increase the risk/reward imbalance.
5: "Nerfing spraying makes positional play important": Positional play was never NOT important. CS has always been and hopefully will always be a marriage between aim, sense of timing, positional play, and team strategy. In an ideal world, a player that chooses to play a superior position to combat a series of potential peeks should win those duels if he has good aim, unless his position is attacked with grenade support, which is the core of Terrorist-side strategy. Being positioned properly gives the defending player more time to get the kill, and what RNG does is it increases the time it takes to get a kill by virtue of RNG-determined misses, which gives the player who did not peek the defending position correctly more time to recover and steal away the kill. Thus, the defending player's position becomes less important as its power is handicapped by rifle RNG. Which brings us to the next argument.
6: "You can adapt to the RNG/avoid it": No, you literally cannot. You can't adapt to randomness. You can play around it, just like how I played around the ridiculous RNG in Hearthstone by uninstalling the game, but you cannot truly adapt to it. This is effectively a non-argument.
7: "The changes promote tapping and bursting": Probably the most common argument I've seen. It too is erroneous. We have had a spraying meta in CSGO because spraying is by far the best possible way to shoot. Simply saying "spraying is OP" and using that to justify RNG changes is incredibly illogical. Spraying is perceived as "too good" because it's much more powerful RELATIVE to alternate modes of fire like tap firing and bursting. Tapping in CSGO is awful compared to how it was in 1.6 because weapons are inherently less effective due to weapon inaccuracy and recovery time, and other things such as model sizes and map proportions. A tapping kill is less reliable and takes more time, so people spray to put more bullets out there at a faster rate. If you want to create a game state where a player with excellent aim can consistently out-tap a lesser-skilled player spraying then the ONLY solution is to increase first shot accuracy and recovery time. Addressing the problem any other way decreases the skill required. This is also why Valve's adjustments of the rifles dumb down the metagame. It does not make any meaningful adjustment to the effectiveness of tapping. Spraying is still far and away the best mode of shooting, even at long range if a player is adept enough with his control and movement, and artificially handicaps the spraying player with randomness.
8: "Yeah? Well the AK and the M4 had RNG before the nerf too": This in particular is a patently stupid argument because it implies that because there was RNG before, it is okay to increase it. RNG is the antithesis of skill because it is a factor external to the player that determines an outcome. We do not play Counter-Strike to have factors external to the handling of the game affect our performance in it. It is completely contrary to skill-worship to balance using randomness. Funnily enough, even the AWP isn't perfectly accurate when scoped in and nonmoving. What possible purpose could that serve? How could that possibly promote skill?
9: "Well 1.6 had randomness too": That in no way justifies randomness in a game that puts skill above all. 1.6 was not a perfect game that emphasized skill in the best possible way. Was it good? Yes. It's still one of the most skill-intensive shooters of all time. But do not make the mistake of thinking it was perfect.
10: "A player shouldn't be able to spray me down from pit to A ramp": To this, I say, why not? Why shouldn't a player who probably spent countless hours honing his muscle memory and mouse movement be able to manipulate his bullets to that degree? Because you're unable to kill that person back? That's on you. That's a lack of skill. The same people whining about this situation are the same people who make the argument that RNG increases the importance of positional play, which is ironic because the only way a player would be able to get the pit-to-ramp kill on you is if you were caught completely out of position. Don't peek. Use grenades. Oh, yeah, if you had good enough aim and if tapping wasn't so neutered, then you would able to out-skill your opponent and tap his head. If you are unable to kill him before he sprays you down then it is YOUR fault, not theirs, especially if he kills you quickly, because it would mean that he was aiming directly at you.
11: "It doesn't change the amount of skill required or the chance of a lucky headshot:" Yes, it actually does. When weapons have that degree of inaccuracy, players are punished less for being off-target because their potential to score hits farther away from his crosshair increases. In a hypothetical CS world with 100% accuracy and zero recoil/spread, then poor aim would be the MOST punished. In a world with 1% accuracy and massive recoil/spread, then aim becomes completely irrelevant. You'd be rolling the dice with every bullet and you would have very little participation in each kill. Take note that I'm not arguing for 100% accuracy with no recoil/spread. I don't want CS to become an arena shooter, and just because we have recoil patterns, we are not, and that is yet another layer of skill.
12: "People are always unreceptive to change! People whined when X happened too!": In what way does this argument contribute to a conversation on game balance? Is it not possible for people to legitimately dislike a change based on that change's merits? Vehemently downvote anybody who uses this argument to rationalize away the changes because it literally contributes nothing to the discussion.
Conclusion: CSGO is far from perfect, but we are drawn to it because it is perceived as a game that rewards skill and punishes the lack of it. With the goal of making CS a 100% skill-based game in mind, it becomes necessary to value the notion that a player of inferior ability should lose to a player of superior ability 100% of the time. Obviously this is not achievable due to human error, but that is the overall ethos of CS, and is my personal vision for it. It's why we spend hours and hours practicing. It's why CS has that hardcore feel and appeal.
TL;DR: The recent changes to the rifles absolutely do NOT promote skill in Counter-Strike.
Solutions: It would be remiss to start a conversation tackling this problem without offering solutions. If I were to have my way with the game's balance, then I would completely remove all randomness from the core rifles and give each rifle a more difficult to follow, more erratic recoil pattern so that the actual mechanical skill of spraying is more difficult than it currently is. There's no need to use randomness to balance the game. I would also increase first shot accuracy and recovery time until it is comparable to 1.6 levels, where a player would be able to rapidly tap, burst, and transition into spraying.
Thank you for reading.
EDIT: For fuck's sake stop comparing CSGO to Quake. It's clear that very few of you actually understand Quake. Quake is an excellent example of a pure-skill shooter with little to no RNG, in which map knowledge and timing is still extremely important. I daresay it's more skill intensive than CSGO is.
submitted by funkCS