Mar 16 2014 - 7:29 pm

Why 2014 is the year of 'Counter-Strike'

Earlier today, Polish Counter-Strike team Virtus Pro earned $100,000 and the gold medal in the EMS Major Series One
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

Earlier today, Polish Counter-Strike team Virtus Pro earned $100,000 and the gold medal in the EMS Major Series One. The match, against Swedish side Ninjas in Pyjamas, was played in front of a raucous home crowd in the city of Katowice, Poland.

The players, the capacity crowd of 11,500, and the thousands playing the game around the world know it: 2014 is the year of Counter-Strike.

The last round of the championship match between the Polish squad Virtus Pro and the Swedish club Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Coming up on its 15th birthday, the iconic first person shooter franchise has emphatically re-entered the top tier of global esports alongside competitive gaming’s most formidible heavyweights: League of Legends and Dota 2Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released in 2012, has been ascendant since late last year, when 145,000 concurrent viewers watched the finals to the DreamHack Winter tournament in December.

But the ESL Major Series One championships in Katowice, Poland has topped DreamHack in almost every quantifiable way. The streams topped out at over 250,000 concurrent viewers while the game itself had over 160,000 players at once, both records emblematic of the power of a great tournament to bring a game to a new plateau.

 Screengrab via SteamCharts.com

What might be even more impressive than the latest record-breaking numbers is the steady and sure rise in Counter-Strike player numbers seen pretty much month after month. Players are also delighted that Valve, the game's publisher, has been constantly responding to feedback and improving the game, turning what was once merely a good game into something great.

For a franchise that was once split nearly fatally between various titles, the reunification seen under Global Offensive has triggered a Counter-Strike renaissance and a new golden age for the best tactical shooter of all time.

It was only fitting that a brilliant championship weekend for the game ended with the hometown heroes taking the game’s biggest prize. Virtus Pro actually follows in the footsteps of Sweden’s Fnatic, who took home gold at last year’s DreamHack in front of a Swedish crowd. Both teams entered the finals as underdogs and then defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas, the game’s all-time most successful squad.

Michal “Carmac” Blicharz, the manager of the Intel Extreme Masters, has dedicated himself to bringing more great esports events to his home country of Poland. This weekend’s events represent a new crowning achievement in that regard. Outside of Counter-Strike, his event reached its highest ever concurrent viewership with 481,000 watching League of Legends, which remains far and away the most popular esport on the planet.

Photo via ESLGaming

Jan 18 2017 - 10:32 pm

OpTic, Cloud9 join line-up for IEM Katowice

With only half of the CS:GO teams in place, the event is already looking stacked.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Less than two weeks after the first Valve Major of the year, some of the strongest teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be making their way to Katowice for a shot at yet another impressive $250,000 prize pool.

North American elite squads OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 will be joining the previously invited teams at IEM Katowice from March 1-5, ESL announced today. The two North American teams will make an already-stacked event all the more competitive, as reigning Valve Major champions SK Gaming—alongside Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis, and Virtus Pro—have already been invited to attend.

OpTic and Cloud9 shocked the world towards the end of 2016, each taking home one international LAN tournament each. Cloud9's performance was particularly impressive. Their victory at the ESL Pro League Season 4 finals last October was the first international LAN victory for the North American region in nearly 11 years.

While these teams alone make the event stacked, they are only half of the teams that will be competing at IEM Katowice, as 12 teams in total will be fighting for the title. Two more teams are still slated to be invited, while an additional three teams from Europe and one more North American team secure their participation at the event through online qualifiers.

CS:GO is off to a hot start in 2017, and with more skilled teams around than ever before IEM Katowice is looking to become one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Jan 17 2017 - 4:42 pm

Ambitious CS:GO mod aims to capture the spirit of the Wild West

Did someone say Classic Offensive?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Screengrab via JarroRus/YouTube

Two ambitious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players want to take the game in a whole new direction.

Going by the names Jarro and CTX, this successful modding duo (who have released popular custom maps in the past), are looking at developing a fully functional and expansive add-on centered around the Wild West. This will be based on the foundation of Valve's extremely popular first-person shooter title CS:GO. Complete with brand new features such as combat on horseback as well as larger maps, the two developers have taken to crowdfunding in order to guarantee that CS:GO Western Add-on, as they have dubbed the mod, will be released within the next 6-8 weeks.

While the team's crowdfunding campaign is set at $1,000, Jarre and CTX have also set two other campaign goals at $400 and $700. The first two goals are centered primarily around necessary features such as dedicated servers for constant game testing, and introducing more unique assets and expansive maps to the mod.

If the two developers reach their crowdfunding goals, the mod will be completely free of charge and distributed via the Steam Workshop. Valve encourages enthusiasts and modders to produce their own custom games based off of the company's intellectual property. The most notable example being Counter-Strike itself, which started out as a mod of Valve's inaugural title in the Half-Life franchise.

For the time being, the mod is looking to feature three separate game modes: A standard player vs. player mode, team-based hostage scenarios, and finally a linear game play map featuring cut scenes and co-op game play.

If the wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 and the second season of Westworld is killing you, the Western Add-on should keep you occupied until then.