CSGO fans clamor for 128 tick servers, but 99% of players wouldn’t even notice any difference.
Official Counter-Strike: Global Offensive servers run at 64 tick, which is the standard for competitive video games. While most gamers are happy with what they have, CSGO players have always claimed that 128 tick servers would be an important improvement to the game.
An entire third-party matchmaking industry has popped up to fill the void. But if Valve suddenly flipped the 128 tick server switch, how long would it take for anyone to notice without net_graph?
A few years ago, prominent CSGO analyst kinsi ran an innocent social experiment to determine if the average player can even tell the difference. He ran a server at either 47, 64, or 128 ticks and asked players to guess the tick rate after playing.
The official data set reveals that the average player cannot tell the difference at all. In fact, the only thing that correlated at all was a player’s performance. Players who scored more headshots and got more kills were more likely to claim it was 128 tick even if it was running at 47. In the same vein, players who performed poorly were more likely to guess 47 tick.
kinsi has pointed out that there are a few issues with this experiment. Low-skilled or inexperienced players can’t be trusted to accurately determine tick rate by feel. Grenades were also disabled as part of this experiment, as certain lineups can’t be done on servers with different tick rates. Still, it’s hard to see these results and immediately resume asking for 128 tick servers.
In theory, servers with higher tick rates are more responsive and more accurately follow the players’ actions which is important for aiming and precise movement.
But kinsi’s experiment concluded that the vast majority of CSGO players can’t tell the difference between server tick rate. There are a few things that tick rate undoubtedly does affect, however.
The biggest issue is movement. Advanced movement techniques like bunnyhops or venthops can become more consistent with higher tick rates, though only a tiny minority of players actually use those techniques. Those strategies are also still possible on 64-tick Valve servers.
Another area that tick rate can have an impact on is grenades. Updating movement 128 times a second can affect the trajectory of grenades thrown by a moving player. This is especially important if you’re using an advanced forward+jump bind to chuck smokes and flashes. This can result in slightly different grenade setups, but there are no 128 tick-exclusive grenades to learn.