Cover Image Courtesy: Tiltreport, Astralis | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: ESL Counter-Strike
Since the ‘crowd cheating’ incident that took place at ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals in the semifinals match between Astralis and mousesports, there has been a debate brewing in the community related to this type of fan participation. How it is impacting the game, and what might be the best solution to maintain the integrity and spirit of the game.
Following on what Robin “ropz” Kool had to say about the whole situation, Complexity Gaming star Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, and Astralis veteran Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth, also passed their opinion on this growing debate.
Xyp9x through a TwitLonger post thanked the community for picking up this issue which he agreed needed to be addressed. He started off by stating the difference between the crowd getting excited before something big was going to happen, and the crowd actually shouting out the position or any other sensitive information about a player or the team.
He goes on to point out that while the former is unacceptable, the latter is what needs to be taken care of, and that this was equipment/TO issue rather than a player or a crowd issue.
Xyp9x breaks down the situation from the perspective of both the player and the crowd. For a player being on stage is a high-pressure situation, players tend to get a bit nervous, always thinking of all possible outcomes, relying on their instincts and intuition to outplay their opponents, so reacting to the crowd is completely involuntary. While for the fans, coming and watching the match live is all about excitement and celebration.
“Imagine getting told as a fan in the arena that you're not allowed to get excited or react to anything during a round and that you're only able to cheer after a finished round, like tennis for example. I would hate that for CS:GO, especially, if there are simply other solutions to solve the issue.”
He recalls how during the mid-2017, players would get sound cues from the bass of the speakers in the arena. Getting information about enemies in that area.
Speaking of the solution to all these problems, he says there is only one option, “Make soundproof booths.”
“I'm talking about a properly soundproofed booth which eliminates undue outside sound interference. Also, I'm talking about diligently placing the speakers or designing the stage in a manner which prevents it from being vibrated by the bass.”
He did keep in mind that there will be costs associated with such a setup, while also disconnecting the players from the fans to some extent.
“I think that we need to work together on overcoming these hurdles to ensure the best possible fan experience whilst at the same time protecting the competitive integrity of our game.”
In his concluding statement, he says that “On the player side of things, we will be discussing this within the players association (CSPPA) and afterwards reach out to TO's with a view to finding solutions.”
While Xyp9x shared his thoughts via Twitter, k0nfig who was on HLTV’s podcast suggested that soundproof sound booths may be the best option for the tournament organizers, admitting that even he has used the crowd at times.
He said, “If you are flashing somewhere, you can hear them exploding through the speakers in the arena, then you know that they are blind and that someone is near you.”
This can be really advantageous for the user as it gives away more information than intended.
“When you’re sitting at home you can’t use it and this should be the situation during tournaments as well.”
He went on to point a finger at Richard “shox” Papillon as well, saying that “You see shox and all these types of players, even myself, shaking the aim at the wall and spamming sometimes and if the crowd gets excited, then you know that a player is over there, fragging him through the wall.”
He doesn’t feel that things like this should exist in the game, expressing his displeasure towards those members in the crowd who shout out information to assist a team.
“This will not be a problem if there were booths, which allows the audience to view the players but not vice-versa. And this will be the perfect solution. It does remove some kind off crowd-player interaction, while the players would feel completely boxed in, but that’s the only problem I have with that idea really.”
Both Xyp9x and k0nfig had a similar thought process while suggesting similar solutions. And while it would definitely hurt tournament organizers to limit this player-audience interaction, the growing concern with the integrity of the game has to be accounted for as well.
Let’s see what judgement does CSPPA reach in accordance with this issue, and what discussion do they have with the tournament organizers.