From CS:GO to VALORANT: a Temporary Trend or the New Meta?
Who else to expect in Riot's shooter
The original of the text presented by Maxim Polotov
Hiko, pyth, ScreaM, ANGE1, ShahZaM, and Mixwell — what do all these names have in common? Each of them once played in well-known CS:GO teams, and each of them eventually left for VALORANT, a hyped shooter from Riot Games that has amassed a decent fanbase on Twitch. And this affected not only retired players — draken and nitr0 also moved into the new discipline as soon as their previous contracts were closed.
The list of former CS:GO players who have tried on the role of VALORANT agents is growing every week. This happens because of the prospects that have opened up in front of players and organizations. The professional CS:GO hierarchy has already been formed inside and out — there are top clubs, there are tier-2 and tier-3 organizations, from where the tops "pick out" young and talented players, there are "professional stand-ins" wandering from team to team, there are heroes and villains, legends and one-day stars, flop stacks, and gold squads. It is much more difficult to gain recognition in such a developed and established pro-scene or at least become noticed if you don't have a talent of ZywOo's level.
And then VALORANT appears — an esports Klondike, where the shooting mechanics are the same, the salaries are worthy, and the players' average skill is much lower. This combination allowed the already half-forgotten pro-players to comfortably change the C-4 to Spike and get bonuses at the same time. Higher places in the ratings, top organizations, big salaries (the Team Liquid coach said the amounts ranged from $20,000 to $30,000/month) — how can they resist?
To make things clear, let's take a look at the five "deserters" and compare their last permanent Counter-Strike team in the world rankings at the time of their departure, and how things went after the change of discipline.
The sample is dubious, but quite clearly reflects an important fact: veterans of Dust2 and Inferno have a place in VALORANT. Their experience and the lack of a formed scene allows them to occupy all the niches not yet occupied by other esports "adventurers." This allows us to ask the question, "Who else from the players could reveal themselves in a new way if they decided to make the transition?" and highlight three large groups.
Players such as Spencer "Hiko" Martin and Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi gather whole stadiums full of admiration after another clutch or a particularly beautiful highlight. But esports, unlike traditional sports, is constantly changing. What was in the meta a year or even a week ago could instantly become the past after a patch that brings balance or economic changes, or a particularly curious bug that was decided to turn into a feature.
It is useless to rely only on experience in esports? Who needs tactics based on irrelevant information? Veterans see familiar textures, weapons, and maps and use familiar patterns just because they used so.
A change of scenery for something new, but at the same time elusively familiar, will be a wonderful shake-up. VALORANT is similar enough to CS that the experience gained by old school players can be applied, but at the same time, it is different enough from it to make esports players think and create.
Brand new strategies, previously unknown loopholes in-game mechanics, old tricks that are re-introduced in another game? Hiko has already shown on his YouTube that all this has a place in the new shooter.
Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom did the right thing. Over the past few years, this Belgian "headshot machine" has been unable to find a decent team and has constantly complained about wasting its potential in vain. Adil complained on his Twitter that all he did was throw flashes for his teammates. Therefore, the transition to another game became for the 26-year-old Belgian not only a way to self-actualize but even a real springboard in his career: ScreaM signed a contract with Team Liquid.
The game has changed.— Liquid ScreaM 🇲🇦 (@ScreaM_) August 7, 2020
A new exciting chapter starts.
Officially joining @TeamLiquid on Valorant and I can't wait to compete with the team!
Thank you all for your unconditional support, I hope to see you by our side during events and on my stream! ❤️#LETSGOLIQUID #1TAP 🦁✊ https://t.co/2XgySnqzBe
And there can be many more players with similar stories. TACO, mou, RUBINO, who once played in North and hutji, who once destroyed North, all of them now either sit without a team or vegetate in little-known lineups, which will have nothing but tier-3 tournaments and prize money of $500 per person. Although there is a solution.
The most controversial group, collecting information about which you involuntarily ask yourself the question: "Do we need such professionals?" Should we give a second chance to people like forsaken and zoneR, who broke the rules and substituted their team for the sake of a momentary advantage? The answer to this question comes from Braxton "brax" Pierce, once known as swag.
In 2015, this talented sniper received a permanent ban from Valve for match-fixing and lost the opportunity to play in serious organizations: no one needs a player who cannot participate in a Valve tournament. When VALORANT entered the beta test, Braxton immediately assembled a team named after himself and started to conquer a new discipline.
In less than two months, Team brax won four tournaments and took three more prize places, earning more than $15,000 and gained interest from the South Korean multi-gaming T1. The 24-year-old pro-player accepted the invitation and officially became part of the organization in June, where he continues to this day. He has not yet been noticed in violations, despite the increased attention to his ambiguous person.
Will the era of the "CS:GO players great migration" ever end? Yes, and soon enough. As soon as the VALORANT professional scene matures and acquires really stable ratings with its stars and outsiders, the players' transition will decrease. But this will only benefit the game.
Riot Games did the right thing by making the shooting mechanics so similar to CS:GO — the game received a boost to popularity in an audience of former CS:GO players who care not so much about what is happening on the screen as closeness to their idol. And the novelty significantly decreases the limit for entering the game, and soon new names will light up in the esports horizon, which over time will begin to glow as brightly as NiKo, device, and s1mple.