CSGO caster and analyst Henry “HenryG” Greer raised eyebrows during ESL One’s Road to Rio qualifier, saying that his cohost Alex “Machine” Richardson might not have to learn two sets of smokes anymore.
After Astralis took down Complexity 2-1 at the European Regional Major Rating tournmant nicknamed Road to Rio, HenryG, Machine, and Chad “spunj” Birchhill discussed Machine’s experience with 128 tick servers. Machine admitted that the servers were nice, but he’d run into a problem. Sometimes he would learn smokes that can only be used on server with a different rate.
In CSGO, Valve’s official servers run at a tickrate of 64, meaning that the server and a player’s computer update one another at 64 messages per second. Third-party providers like FACEIT and ESEA run 128-tick servers, meaning that a computer gets almost twice as much information on a players position, bullets, sounds, twice as often. Like Machine said, it also means that each tickrate has their own smokes to memorize as game physics are effected by tickrate. Ultimately, a ligher tickrate translates to a much more accuracte depiction of a Counter-Strike match than Valve’s own servers can manage. and that’s emabarrassing for a developer. That said, Valve has been glad to watch as other games tried and failed to compete with CSGO. That is until Valorant arrived on the scene.
Riot Games’ hero shooter borrows heavily from Counter-Strike and seems tailor made for players to make the transition from Valve’s eight-year-old game to their new, brightly colored offering. During the game’s Twitch reveal, casters continually reffered to weapons, locations and tactics from Valorant in the same language a Counter-Strike caster would. Instead of its actual name, “the Operator,” casters often called Valorant’s one-shot sniper the AWP after the Counter-Strike Weapon of the same name. Rifles were labeled M4s and AKs, and a second floor sniper’s nest was called “heaven.”
It has been clear since then that Riot’s focus is on bringing Counter-Strike players to their game, and one of the biggest indicators is the company’s marketing focus. Over and over in all of VAlorant’s marketing materials, players see one thing.
The hero shooter will use 128 tick servers for its matchmaking and drawing a huge taget on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Valve. HenryG’s suggestion that Machine might only need to remember one set of smokes in “a couple montsh” implies that Valve will follow Riot into the 128 tick server business.
If true, then Valve must be worried that Valorant could take a significant portion of it’s userbase and that 128 tick servers might be enough to stop those considering leaving. People play Counter-Strike when they could be playing Overwatch because they don’t want abilities. Most don’t want the distractions that come from magic or technology or whatever Valorant’s characters are using, and that’s okay. Valve has an opportunity to ensure those people stay inside CSGO and that CSGO stays at the top. It seems like HenryG think’s they’ll take it.