PACT coach Vincent ”vinS” Jozefiak tweeted that he could see his team’s opponent’s pings during a live match against Alternate aTTax.
With Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s new operation came a huge update to the ability for players to communicate information in competitive games. CSGO’s ping system had previously been limited to Danger Zone, but Operation Broken Fang introduced it to other modes and expanded on it, adding 50 customizable commands that players could use in-game. But a tweet from PACT coach vinS claimed that he was able to see the opposing team’s pings while in PACT’s coaching slot.
1/2 There’s a new coach bug which allows to see enemies pings. I saw this in todays match vs Alternate aTTax and at the start i was thinking its our pings and somebody just trolling but after match my teammates just told me they didnt ping in this match at all then i understood
— Vincent ”vinS” Jozefiak (@VJozefiak) December 10, 2020
vinS at first assumed that his players were simply playing around with the additions, but his players reported that none had used the new tools during the game. In a follow-up tweet, vinS said that he could hear the ping sounds as well. CSGO’s new operation update is just over a week old, but the game’s newest update is being used by at least one tournament organizer. The incident took place during PACT’s December 10 matchup against ALTERNATE aTTaX at MIDNITE Nine to Five 7.
Tournament organizers began hosting their own builds of CSGO that were compatabile with tournament standards after CSGO’s update schedule started to speed up several years ago. Game updates during online matches meant that if CSGO was updated after a map had been played, the client would connect to Valve’s servers and download the update. Tournament servers use a server setup to host competitive matches and are updated manually. This version mismatch between player’s clients and tournament servers resulted in match delays and extended breaks as tournament hosts were forced to shutdown, update, and reboot the server entirely before players could connect again.
— CS:GO (@CSGO) December 10, 2020
In vinS’ case, it could be that either MIDNITE Nine to Five’s servers, its server hosts, or malfunctions in his own game client were to blame for the failure and phantom pings. No other issues similar to those described by vinS have been reported.
It’s currently unclear whether or not professional players are allowed to use the new system, depsite evidence that players and organizers know about CSGO updates before they are released.
WIN.gg has already reported evidence that CSGO pros, players, and tournament organizers are warned by Valve before any CSGO updates go live. The heads up lets organizers ensure that steps are taken either server or client-side so viewers won’t experience long match delays like had happened in the past. While most have assumed that was how it worked, a now deleted Counter-Stike Professional Players’ Association tweet from May 12 showed that at least two CSGO-related companys are alerted ahead of time.
During ESL One’s Road to Rio, the CSPPA announced that both it and ESL would use CSGO’s latest patch during the tournament. There was just one small problem, as hadn’t been any CSGO updates before the CSPPA tweeted about it. It turned out that the CSPPA’s tweet had gone live 13 hours early. CSGO received an update to its sever settings and grenade radius fixes later that day.
With the CSPPA knowing about a small but important update to CSGO’s grenades, it’s likely that teams at the top of CSGO’s professional scene had early warning of the game’s new ping system. The CSPPA, tournament organizers, and the Esports Integrity Coalition have had whirlwind week, but none have commented on whether or not professional teams are allowed to use pings during competitions.
Fans will have to wait for confirmation from either Valve or tournament organizers as to whether pinging is allowed, but if Valve has accidentally shipped a bugged version of CSGO that exposes opposing communications in any form, that would be a bad look.
CSGO has already been in a negative spotlight after Richard Lewis publically revealed that CSGO’s esports competitions might be filled with cheating and match fixing. Adding on to that, Valve failed to fix a long-standing CSGO bug that was abused by professional teams and coaches for years. Suddenly, Valve’s new operation doesn’t look quite so shiny.