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The Scales of Style

Hey guys, I know the last article I wrote was sort of mash up of scattered thoughts, but I’m back with a good 4 hours of sleep-_-.

I’m going to mention a few terms here that aren’t widely applied, but should make sense after a bit of explaining. Play styles is in reference to you, the individual, and it’s typically your first impulse while in-game. "I’m going to push", "I’m sitting back"… These are the things you hear while playing with your team, these are also the same things you say. This is good communication, but the point I’m trying to make is really, how often do you use these phrases each time you play? I label play styles as A-Style (aggressive), B-Style (passive), and O-Style (50/50 of A & B Styles). You’ll see what I mean by the end of this article why I feel that our competitive pool is overrun by A-style players, coupled with dumb B-styles, and lacking the evident O-style players.

A-Style: (Alpha/Aggressive)

You can label yourself however but you must agree, most of today’s CS:S players are overly aggressive, looking to, in the words of sasquatcH, “Light up the scoreboard”. Majority of the time the A-style player will hunt for frags, try to get the early flank, go for a pick regardless of what gun his opponent has, and doesn’t play it safe. This style pays off a LOT more than it should because of the simple shock factor. You’re gambling that your opponent isn’t expecting/anticipating that sort of play style from you, catching them in close quarters or simply betting you’re going to click first because of the surprise itself. This sort of play style works more so against the less experienced player, lets say for shits ‘n giggles, Open and Intermediate in reference to ESEA. This is why a ton of players find themselves “stuck” in Main, one of the many plateaus I have chimed about, because it doesn’t work well against experienced players who know the tell-tale signs of an A-style player. They adjust and play accordingly the next round, they will set up scenarios based with superior positioning to deny you that reward using the map itself against you. This will typically start to chip away at your confidence and you will find that it is replaced with frustration and sloppy play because you don’t know how to evolve/adjust fast enough to manage experienced opponents. People tend to just get away with this type of play enough in the lower levels, boost their confidence, become blind with pride & ego, then think they don’t need to learn anything more; they’re “good”. These are the same players who think “<insert random invite players name>, that guy blows. Yeah, he sucks mad, bro!” - These are the fucking idiots of our community I wish would be sterile and end their retarded ideals before they infect the younger/less experienced players. Unfortunately, the less experienced players either don’t know any better or they don’t get to choose because their options are limited. Who’s going to teach them how to counter-strike other than their dippy team mates? Before all the lessons, the streams, The Clinic here, there wasn’t really an outlet players could seek out. Now with all these information pipelines coming at you, there is no excuse why you’re still playing like an idget. You still need an aggressive style to tap into while playing, because pretend you’re on the offensive, you can’t take a site by playing passive. You are the player that puts the fear of god into your opponents, making them shook as all hell, and that’s sometimes has to be your answer when your current play style of taking it cautiously isn’t working.

B-Style: (Beta/Passive)

Not trying to call passive players out, because they are usually more observant than their testosterone driven counterparts, but grow a fucking pair some time. You can play passive, the superior angle, but you have to at least pick a smart position and be ready to shoot first. I’m not saying be nervous and raise your blood pressure just to get your reaction time up at the cost of your accuracy. I’m telling you to anticipate the opponents based on what you see, hear, and feel. You have to be ready to click and not get surprised by your opponents. You’re already playing back, giving up map control, meaning your enemy doesn’t have many spots left to check (depending on the map), but they are all fired up and ready to shoot. Peeker’s advantage is already against you, so you not only have to be ready for that guy to blitz you like Warren Sapp, but you can’t always be playing the common/same positions where they don’t have to move their crosshair as they round the corner. This is the primary reason people get called out for “cHEATZ!”, they simply line up their crosshair before they round the corner and have an itchy trigger finger. You have to play it smarter than the A-styles, you have to be the one to create the frustration in their ranks, create squabbles by always playing the smarter position and get 1-3 frags because of it. You should know that you also don’t have to expose yourself to the rest of their team just because you are spotted or frag one, re-position yourself! You may not get the clip of the week style points, but you will get the respect from your team and your opponents you deserve by cutting down their offensive 1 player at a time, and that is worth more.

O-Style: (Omega/’The Combo’)

This is the intelligent balancing of both A-style and B-style, ‘The Combo’. You already know what I’m going to say, but I’ll spell it out for those that don’t. I mean “Combo” just like you order a meatlovers or hawaiin pizza from your local pizza joint, the best of both worlds in one package. You can recognize your O-style players immediately, they are weathered or just simply knowledgeable. The knowledge to know when they need to play aggressive, when they need to play passive, always judging/calculating what they should do to make the play. This is similar to how I describe Hybrid players, but the difference is that is in respect to weapon only. O-style is oriented around cool/collected personality types, and very rarely wielded by those who lean further in the A-style or B-style. The blending of the two is difficult for a lot of players because it becomes an internal struggle, they become torn on what to do, hesitate, and ultimately make a mistake because they don’t have the experience to make the confident/correct choice per each situation. This is the style you find that makes the clutch with finesse, controlling the round with elegance, and just overall look good doing it because the choices they make are decisive but also intended.

Too many players just rush in, hit the shot, and think that’s all there is to it. There is a reason I’ve got the title ‘Mastermind’ at the top, it’s because when I win a round/clutch, I made the clutch. I didn’t rely on my reactions to shoot first and accurately, I didn’t just pray and hope I caught him slipping; I made the correct movements, forced my opponent to maneuver the directions I allowed him to have, creating my opportunity to win. It’s a given that it won’t always go that way for you, because unless you have wallhacks, you won’t always know which way to turn. You must take the correct actions, be observant of everything, and use deduction to make the right choices.

Basically I’m saying is we are plagued by the types of players who think all they need to do in counter-strike is run & gun and plateau. I don’t want to wish physical harm or bad luck to fall upon these players, but I am seriously disgruntled when I ask why a player did ‘this’ or did ‘that’, and their answer is “i dunno” or “because.” Now I don’t want to sound like a angry p.o.s., but if you’re not thinking while you’re playing, you’re a drone, automaton, weapon, tool, and just an overall dunce. Can you walk, talk, and chew bubblegum? Then you should be able to think and play counter-strike.

-J

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Personalities & Attitudes

                                                                                                        

I went ahead and had a couple people ask me about attitudes. I thought about how personality types tend to favor the varying attitudes (Optimist/Positive, Pessimist/Negative). Then I saw BroesserHD’s video, which I thought, “This is a sign”. I would like to thank him for giving me permission to embed his video here to use as an example, much appreciated. 

I want to put a disclaimer: Psychology is a soft science, which means it’s not a definitive science. There have been hundreds of years of study, by experts, geniuses even. I’m neither an expert nor a genius, so please bare with me, and there will probably be some unfinished thoughts here and there since i’m a bit tired and caffeinated. These are only my observations and interpretations of personality types I have found in competitive scenes for FPS, RTS, and Fighting games, but we’re going to focus on FPS as it applies to those reading. Again, I’m a bit scatter brained at the moment, so the Optimism/Positive and Pessimism/Negative aspects aren’t always hand in hand, just they are commonly found side by side (with a sprinkle of egotism on top).

There is a line with two ends: Positive & Negative. I’ve been all over the line, positive charge, negative charge, and have come to find myself at the nice balance I am now. Basically there are multiple areas that define a negative attitude, and more people tend to incorrectly identify the differing personality types: Optimist, Pessimist, Realist. These are the most common three personality types you will encounter in the game when it comes to people you pug with, scrim with, or are even teamed up with. I’ll briefly touch upon these three types along with the strengths and weaknesses they are usually accompanied with.

I will also continue on to the most highlighted features we see with players of today: Bad attitude.

Optimist - "Good shit!" "Excellent job, dude!" "Good job you fuckers!"

This is your happy-go-lucky player, always in a chipper mood, the Yang to Yin (If you’re into that sort of thing). These guys are the ones laughing, making jokes, well mannered and just overall the people you enjoy having fun with. These guys typically give you a breath of fresh air when the competition gets rough. There are a lot of players (typically the older ones) that you’ll find that are able to take a bad situation and put a comical spin to lighten the mood/ease the tension. This is the tend of attitude I like to apply when I’m playing outside of match time because lets be real, no one likes to play with angry people, and outside of match time is your R&R or practice, of which both should have less stress than a match.

I believe that when you’re in a good mood, you frag better, you play smarter, and just overall have less inhibitions to play your game. I’m sure you all know what I’m saying, when you’re "in the zone" or "doin’ work", you find that it’s because you’re in a good mood or in an otherwise clear state of mind. I find that optimists bring an essential ingredient to the team aspect since most of the time people are negative as all hell. Your optimists some times take it upon themselves to put the team morale on their shoulders alone, they feel almost stricken that they couldn’t keep the team in a good mood. They care a great deal for the team and the players on that team, mostly because just like in sports, your team mates are now essentially your friends (You might even become Facebook official, OMG!). 

Most of the time the Pessimists of the team see the optimist as the “dickrider” or the “brown noser”. Not true. There is of course a difference between being an optimist and them, most optimists know that overdoing (Or “going O.D.’”) it can be detrimental to the team.

Most of the time people think optimists are simply on teams because of their attitude/who they know, and sometimes that is the case, but that’s not the most serious issue when dealing with optimists, naivety is. Optimists tend to be more naive, always thinking that things are fine and perfect, or never think there is a problem with how people are playing or the strategy might be flawed. They are your least constructive team player since they are typically the ones who avoid confrontation. I don’t mean ’snake’ in the grass, but I mean they literally NEVER the Alpha of the pack. The optimist will almost always default to the voice of reason (The Realist) to speak for them so they don’t have to. The optimist recognizes that they don’t have to repeat what someone else already said, so they stick to their strength, team morale and supporting. 

I could go on for HOURS and in many different directions on the optimist (mainly because I was one at one point) but I would rather leave lines to distinguish the different personality types easier.

Pessimist - "What the fuck!" "Bullshit!" You’re a fucking idiot" "Open fuck!"

Yeah, you all recognize with these phrases, because everyone has been there. Your personal “bullshit” meter gets full, you cross that line into “Fuck the world” mode and just hate to vent the frustration. Pessimists are the Yin to your Yang (optimist). They tend to typically play on their own emotion; clouded anger, frustration pushes, and He-Man mentality ("I’m going to rush middle and ONE DEAG EVERYONE!"). As funny as these people are to observe, they don’t do it for your comedic tastes, they do it because they are simply pissed off. The Pessimist plays the angles they believe to be 'correct', throw the flashbang that 'should' have blinded anyone there, or play at a position that "no one would look" at, and just gets steam rolled in all areas. He is always (from his perspective) the victim of Murphy’s Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will"). While we all have been spammed through our share of smokes, killed by people who are blind, or caught with a nade out; the pessimist takes everything personally. What I have described was mostly a perspective towards the typical pugger, but a lot of players take their pug mentality back to their team sessions and literally throw a monkey wrench into the gears. He tends to be that guy who calls the optimist a “dick rider” and “brown noser”, or he might even be the guy who says “adreN sucks dick. That guy is so free not even Salvation Army would take him”. Let’s be real, this happens with different names applied (I’m not hating on adreN, simply using him as an example). The pessimist is that guy who normally has an ego, cutting others down to simply mask his (or her) own inadequacies. 

What I described already was your generic pugger mentality. Next you have the pessimist in a team setting that typically cuts down any ideas that are not their own. These guys believe everything they do is the best, and preach it like it’s gospel, and if you disagree it’s blasphemy and burn you on the cross; they crucify anyone who disagrees with them. While this is a less than attractive quality in those you want to try and work with, because that’s what you’re doing when you play this game at the higher levels, work with them. These players bring to light the negative possibilities when it comes to a decision: "They could pick you." "You can get nade stacked." "You are exposed to flashes." "This strat is weak here…". This is essential for any team that wants to improve, you can’t just have ‘Yes’ men on your team. You’ve gotta have that person to shoot down ideas that are honestly bad, and please believe that most pessimists are going to be loud and rowdy when they see something they don’t like. They may be wrong in their opinion, but at least they keep an idea on the table long enough to be dissected, poked, prodded, and simply thought through. Again, I’m not going to write a whole book on the common encounters you’ve already had…

The Realist - "It could work, but this could happen." "That’s wrong." "You’re right, I’m wrong." "We cannot give them map control!" "Quit pushing!"

The realist is the guy who is a well-balanced individual and usually your in-game leader. Appropriately optimistic, pessimistic when necessary, but rationale and reasonable at all times. What I’m really describing is what we come to see in the more mature players of the community. I’m not saying these players aren’t silly or have an immature sense of humor, simply saying when it comes to business time, they have their business socks on. The realist typically having the alpha standing based on their ability to reason and rationalize situations be it mid-round or out of game, they are your foundation. The optimists like them, the pessimists respect them, and everyone falls in line. The realist is the best of both worlds and rarely show the weaknesses of either, shit, that sounds like I’m describing Wesley Snipes in Blade. 

I won’t describe the Realist any further because honestly, I’ve done a very basic design outlining the two ends of the spectrum (optimist:pessimist) and simply planted the realist in the center. We all know it’s not this black and white, it’s as grey as the Seattle skyline. You will have varying personalities, but when it comes to being a consistent player, you must reach a level of ‘realistic’ expectations as to prevent yourself from going full-retard (never go full-retard). Harness the abilities to bring up the team morale, tap into that anger that makes your shot on point, but stay in control of your emotions enough to still be able to make the right decision.

Now I was asked: “how do I break my streak of pessimism with this game?” My best advice is short and simple, shit happens. Not trying to be insulting in any way, but that’s the easiest way I have come to terms to always improve and strengthen my own resolve to become a better player. I think if you’re going to always be angry and can’t get over the “dumb game”, “interp”, or “stupid players”, then you need to quit playing this game. You’re getting too worked up and it’s proof youneed to take a step back, take a week off and come back when you’re not so worked up. I know some people are afraid “I’ll be rusty!”. If you’re getting angry all the time playing the game, you should be more worried about your blood pressure than your gameplay. If you cannot master yourself, you will never become a master at the game. 

"All types of knowledge, ultimately means self knowledge."

-Bruce Lee

What this quote means to me is why I took a 2 year break from the game. I was still a child in my mind, couldn’t control myself, always playing off of emotion. I took my leave and matured quite a bit. I now see things in a different light, play with a different attitude, and play using cognitive thought and deduction rather than rage aim. We all like winning, now harness the competitive part, leave out the emotional, and apply it in a way that will help you break your negative plateau and become the player you wish to be.

-J

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I have come across SOOOOOOOOOOO many players that just have no idea what they are doing when their strat caller isn’t backseat driving. I’m just sitting there, cringing in painful agony; watching the mistakes people make while mid-round, indecision, and just straight up dumb ass positions/angles (Typically angles that are expected/overly aggressive). You also see how well your team "works" together, and I use that phrase sarcastically. People don’t know the key elements of the game, nor have the speed to think on the fly with what options they have: Time left, team mate positions, map control, educated guesses on opponent positions/movements, arsenal available, divide & conquer or group up… These are elements you need to have while working together to take/defend a site come mid/late round. The most key element I have yet to mention is chemistry. You will know whether or not you have chemistry if you can come to the same conclusion instantly, because if you’re saying “Let’s go B” and your mate is saying “Let’s go A” and you both can’t come to an agreement in under 1 second, you are going to flop and only win the round because of your opponents being in bad positioning or outshot. That is not how good CS:S players win rounds. Good CS:S players will win decisively, and you have to respect each other to trust each other when you get into a sticky situation. Sticky situations (against the odds) are what prove your mettle as a player, winning or losing, you will need to earn your lumps just like everyone player before you to learn how to win.

'The Dead Don't Speak' - ’Backseat driving’ as I call it is just as it sounds, your dead player(s) are chiming in with ideas/directions. While a dead player is able to observe and calculate the information easier/faster than you alive/stressed out, you will most likely always be a lemming who needs direction to win a round. It’s like cheating on a test, where you aren’t studying/absorbing the information and you just simply take the test and win because someone gave you the answers. I hate having to call after I’m dead, it takes away from my time to calculate for the following rounds and direct people appropriately. Anyways, enough about me, more about you, the players. You want to know why all the Invite/Professional players win rounds solo, or win 2v5’s and other dirty situations? It’s because they learned how to play when other’s aren’t spoon feeding them what to do. I know we’ve got some backseat drivers that serve you with a golden spoon, a silver spoon, and sometimes, a dirty spoon; and when you lose you tend to blame them. The only thing you can ask is for them to stop calling after they have died come practice time. I said ask because I mean it. If you can’t have enough respect to your team mate to ask them nicely, what reason do they have to comply? For your benefit? From their seat, they want to win at all costs, which is a good drive to have, and it comes from a good personality. The problem is, when tension is thick enough to cut with a wooden spork, shit gets real right quick. The ‘Dead don’t speak’ rule one that has been around for ages. LAN tournaments typically have Fade 2 Black, and once your screen goes fully black, you can’t speak. You also weren’t even allowed to touch your peripherals (Mouse & keyboard) because back then, you could press TAB (Scoreboard) and possibly let a living team mate know if the bomb was up/down and who has it. This was an additional security to prevent ghosting from happening on LAN, making it a fair gaming competitive environment.

To help emphasize good practice of this, institute ‘The Dead Don’t Speak’ rule during practice and matches online. You might ask, “But pNo, how will I make my calls after I’m dead?” The answer is, you don’t. You need to make your calls quickly so you can do your team a service and call for them quickly enough so the calls are accurate, that way your team doesn’t see you die and the call you say is late. I have seen for years that people make calls that are no longer valid and your team mates get caught with their pants down (nades in hand). You don’t want to lose? Then quicken the calls you make for your team, so they can in return do the same service to you when properly rotating.

Next you’ll ask “But- but pNo Grigio, I can’t shoot and talk at the same time”, this is horse shit. You should be able to make calls simultaneous to fragging. If you can’t, you will never have the the speedy calls needed to reach the top tiers of the game. I have had hundreds of people ask me how I can frag & call at the same time, the only way I can accurately tell you is because I don’t use my mouse to talk. I use my ‘C’ on my keyboard to talk. I’ve been using my mousewheel to jump since I ever discovered Bunnyhopping, and the function for me hasn’t been changed enough to force me to change it back to my ‘Space’ bar. You don’t hold your mouse the same way when you’re talking and when you’re fragging, it’s a proven fact that your hand will tense up when shooting and not when you’re calling. This allows you to keep your mousehand free of any positional/grip changes between the two functions. I know some others use ‘Caps Lock’ to speak, don’t care about the text you might not end up using in the first place, focus on fragging and your comms. If you care about MM1 or MM2 more than your fragging or comms, you’ll be doing yourself (and your team) a disservice. Now get on that and change it. 

These simple modifications will seriously give you a greater edge than those idgets who don’t. I’ve been able to make calls like “They are rushing B!-, 3 in B!" and I’ll have killed them by the end of my comm, allowing my team mates to have moved very little out of position and continue maintaining our map control. It boggled a lot of players I’ve gamed with in both a casual or a serious setting, and I can accredit it to my mouse being free of any distractions so I am able to accurately shoot/spray at my opponents. 

You might even go as far as using in-game instead of mumble or ventrilo during practice sessions. I don’t care what you say about the quality of the in-game voice, if it’s good enough for you to spam music and voice changers, it’s good enough to make calls. It’s not the quality of your voice that you should be worried about, it’s the quality of your comms that should be the main focus. Clear, concise, and accurate comms are something I can’t stress enough that a good team needs to have. Put this above all else, because once you have players with good comms on your team, it’s like having a wallhack/maphack. You’ll be able to deduce the locations your opponents are based on the map you control and the map you can observe and report via comms. The majority of rounds lost when you’re in a 2/3/4v1 are due to the combination of bad map control, positioning, and comms. Limit your opponents options on where they could be, but don’t over extend where you’ll die if they spot you. Play for the round with brain, not with brawn.

That’s just my spiel on why we have ‘clueless’ players in the community, and hopefully you take these lessons and apply them to your next practice and see how it effects your teamwork. When you get to the point that you don’t need a backseat driver, you will find the confidence level will skyrocket and your team’s overall morale will rise because you will win more than you lose. Not too mention, your strat caller won’t have any heart problems because he won’t be stressing while having to watch you run around making dumb choices. Teamwork is the missing link that separates a bad team from a good team, and intelligence is what separates good teams from great teams.

-J

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Good god, nothing grinds my gears like seeing selfish playstyles and people going on about “my stats are so gooood, bro!”. I swear to all that is holy, if you’re still factoring in stats into thinking you’re a good player, then you’re young and came into the game after statistics came out (aka started when ESEA did). We’re going to take a walk down aisle 6: Selfish play styles & how it effects others, then we will get more into why I think all statistics outside of league/LAN tournament play should be abolished.

So being the older player I am, I got into this game during a stage in the game where it was all about camaraderie, playing with the goal to win the match, and LAN. Anything online meant jack shit. In terms of CAL, it was only used for practice and seeding for The CPL (a LAN tournament). Do you realize, there were teams in Invite that would sandbag and hold back on using strats in Invite matches/playoffs because of The CPL? Yeah, that happened a lot. Given that CAL was free and didn’t have a pay out, but that wasn’t what was on their mind. They wanted to win when and where it counted, on LAN, on the big stage, when it was all eyes on them and the pressure was like The Abyss. I’m off-topic, but the story is going on through: We have too many selfish players and that is not a lie. Selfish players are the guys who say “I pushed to get the 1deag, bro!" or allow the thought of flanking early being more important than holding your spot/position. I really used play just like that, but wasn’t vocal about it. I’m guilty just like everyone else these days is, but the difference is I recognize it for what it is, and how it negatively effects my team.

When you push & die because you wanted to frag out and pad your scoreboard stats, you put pressure on your team. It doesn’t matter if you’re “top fragging”, because if you’re top fragging with 5-10 frags in a 15 round half, and you’re pushing and dying EVERY round, then you’re not top fragging, you’re donkey punching your team! You make it so people have to get out of position, rotate and run into lurkers, giving the opponents money from easy situations (4v5’s), etc.. You are the one who puts stress on your team mates, and it’s completely unnecessary. I personally cannot play with selfish people, people with bad attitudes, arrogance, egotistical personalities, and even worse, egocentric. Egocentric people are the most difficult to work with. They are delusional and think they are the sole reason the team won. It’s usually coupled by other personality flaws that they believe they are the greatest, those “god’s gift” to Source players, I’m sure you’re all familiar with those types. I’ve played on multiple teams over the years with people that have these flaws, and don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are great friends of mine to this day, but that doesn’t change the fact their attitudes make it impossible to play with. These types of personalities are the reason those players never learn or improve, because it is a direct link with their ego, and they believe they want to be perceived as the ‘best’, and if they admit to being wrong or understand they aren’t the best, it’s like they are going to lose something. You will lose nothing by coming to terms with these things… I personally know I’m much higher than above average, but I am far from the best, and knowing that gives me the state of mind where I am able to work with others. I mean, I can hit some crazy shit, I can win some difficult rounds, but I won’t pretend I make the right choice every time. That’s impossible, nobody makes the correct decision, hits the first shot, or does crazy shit every time they sit down. 

I want you to look at Team VERYGAMES for a minute. They are an organized team with great team work, chemistry, in-game knowledge, communication, and shots to support those already great attributes. You can’t be selfish and have good team work and chemistry, it’s completely contradictory. If you think you pushing and getting an ace is good team work or chemistry because your team mate flashed over for you, that is not good team work/chemistry, that is simply luck that the other team was flashed and you happened to hit all of your shots. I challenge anyone to recreate that and do it every round and win the half 15-0 by doing it, cause you won’t and you’ll prove selfish playing loses. Good team work/chemistry must be used with good communication (“comms”). VERYGAMES uses these things and simply demolishes anyone they come across like it ain’t no thing because all of these things are on another level. You’ll ask “What about in-game knowledge and shots, aren’t these just as important?”. The answer is yes, but what you don’t realize is when you have all of the previously mentioned attributes of a good team nailed, you will notice that in-game knowledge becomes more like common knowledge, making the decision without the second guessing (wasting time). Then you’ll recognize how your shots just simply seem to hit. I bet you never noticed it, but when you’re hitting your shots, you’re in a good mood, smiling, laughing, but most importantly, stress free. You add stress to the equation, you’ll get frustrated and play based off emotion and make wrong decisions, piss people off, and eventually get so mad you’ll just find no more joy in playing the game and create a divide where you hate the game, along with the people you play with. 

People get stressed out because you have an expectation, whether it is the first time playing with someone or playing with your team mates of 12 years, you have a sort of expectation. You’ll forget to change the levels, get frustrated, pissed, stressed, and play like shit. I think I personally am one of the biggest offenders to this problem, because when I game, I expect others to know the basics. Then I realize people don’t know the basics, and that’s when I go Hulk mode and want to power clean my desk and throw it through a window (I’m severely exaggerating, but you know what I mean). But these are simple things that inspired me to channel my frustration in a different form, and ‘The Clinic’ is the direct result of that. I would rather be able to explain to people and show them what the expectations of someone who has a serious competitive personality that has played at the highest tiers.

No more stories, Selfish play, it’s garbage. The fact is you’ll stress out your team mates, especially the person you have established as your strategist (strat caller). He will work with what he’s given, and if you give him shit, he’s going to attempt to make a diamond out of it, but he will maybe be able to produce a polished turd. Selfish play doesn’t effect the entire team as much as it effects your strat caller, because he’s the one always trying to calculate, deduce, and create strategies based on what’s happening. It’s already difficult enough to focus on the 5 opposing players without you (I mean the selfish players reading this) being the X-factor that fucks up his equations. If you try to be the “X-factor” (Definition: Player who makes/breaks rounds by himself) EVERY round, then you will effectively driven your Strat caller quiet since you obviously won’t listen, you turned a scrim/match into an ESEA pug, every man for himself. Remember when you could have stacked pugs with No Sort? Yeah, that’s what it’s like. Your opponents are going to look like VERYGAMES versus a bunch of idiots running in circles with one hand on their dick and another on their mouse, looking to pad stats so you can scape goat your idiot behavior and play with the paper statistics

Statistics are the “pussy on the pedestal”. Those fucking idgets who always go “I top fragged”, “Look at that ADR!”, “Peep that FPR” are the downfall of our community. They are the ones who sow the seeds of selfish play by putting statistics above all else. Ask them how they got those frags, ADR, FPR, etc.. Most of the time it is from pushing, flanking, getting a frag or two then leaving their team high and dry. They got the frag though, that’s all that matters to them, it’s not about listening and getting the round. If your caller came up with a set-up you disagree with, man up and do it. If you disagree with the strat so strongly, come up with a suggestion to do something else and see if your caller wants to do it. If he doesn’t, don’t go ‘rogue’ as I call it. Your rogue’s are the players who silently play selfishly, where they pretend and act as the callers wants, until they don’t want to anymore. Rogue players are all over the place, there’s usually one on every team, and they, as most selfish players, can make/break rounds. They want to want to see their name up in lights, bold letters on the scoreboard, be featured in a Clip of the Week (“OMG Im so famous!”), and have countless threads written with their name in the header. The rogue is always teetering on the line between greatness and selfish, and the performance of the team will be a direct sign of which way they have tilted. Rogue’s some times have a conscience, which tells them they know what the right choice is, but they choose to fall into temptation of the possible frag highlight clip potentially generated from the choice you make. 

You want to know what were the only statistics we cared about back in the day? The rounds per half that our team won. That way we knew what we needed to work on to become better and improve. Droppin’ a 20 or 30 bomb was simply a by-product of our team work, and it wasn’t just one player dropping the bombz, we all dropped them. It was just dependent on the other team and whether or not they came to that players part of the map, because the team work we used would result in someone looking good. I also reinforce that point by using VERYGAMES as another example: You always see the highlight videos and frag clips that are made of these guys, but if you haven’t seen a match of them, most of the time they are getting 1-2 frags each and winning the round with ease. People make it out that these guys put themselves in those 4-5 frag situations, when that isn’t something they deliberately do unless the pressure is on (in an attempt to tilt the scales). They work together, win, and go home happy. Which is something I think people need to comprehend, rather than interpret that these players are doing anything stupid, they are just you like and me, but making the smarter choices and working with their team. Stats weren’t recorded unless it was on LAN, and everyone respected that because LAN was the only thing that mattered since online is so inconsistent (and shady). LAN players were revered as gods among the CS community, where as Online only players were simply the cave dwellers. There’s nothing wrong with being an online player (as long as you don’t cheat/exploit), just don’t go pretending you’re anything until you do it on LAN. Statistics online are inconsistent just like the players I just described, which is why they shouldn’t be recorded in general.

I’ll be the first to say it: I would be fine with having a K:D ratio of 1:3 if it meant I was doing a service to the team by setting them up with better situations/chances to win the round. Not to get the frag, but win the round. I don’t give a fuck about fragging, but think about how clueless people are when you win a match 16-5, and no one on your team has higher than 15 frags? I’ll quote Tenacious D, “That’s fucking teamwork!” *Air guitar*

I have ranted and raved to players to think about how they got the frags more so than just zoning out and fragging. Think as to whether or not it was you maneuvering correctly to frag your opponent, or did you get lucky and they maneuvered incorrectly that gave you the opportunity to frag them. 

Think about it.

I want you guys to keep in mind, the way you conduct yourself can directly affect your team mate (or mates) mood, focus, and ability to work as a team. Play for the team, not for yourself, and you will find that you can make greater strides. Learn to say “You’re right.” “I’m wrong.” “It was my fault”. These phrases are not a sign of weakness, contrary to the popular belief, these show you are mature enough to accept the truth and will give you the resolve to bounce back with improvements faster than those who are stunted and plateau’d with their selfish/rogue/thick headed mentalities.

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think." -Socrates

This is just another philosophy that keeps me in an open state of mind, to accept that I am not the man with all the answers, because I’m not. I’m just a guy who likes to have fun like everyone else, but enjoys teaching in a way that allows you to think for yourself, because that’s something I believe will build strong character in your future.

Cheers,

-J

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HELLO! Sorry ladies and gents, I haven’t pumped out a new piece of content in almost a week, and by popular demand, here comes a piece regarding my experience at the recent local event in Victoria, B.C., Canada, GottaCon 2012.

I want to say a big Thank you to all who tuned into the stream while I was at the event. I hope it was a real peek into what I am like in person when I play this game in a serious setting. I’m still disappointed we got 2nd place, but I can only pony that up to not preparing for this LAN as a unit. We had one night we played together, being three Inferno scrims and one Dust2 scrim, I called the first part of the tournament from Dust2, Inferno, then part of Cache. Stephen (sasquatcH) picked up calling for the rest of Cache, Train, and Contra. I also hope it was fun to just watch us be goofy as shit in person, even though it only caught maybe 1/100 of the comedy and fun we ended up having that weekend.

Now you will more than likely find pictures in the gallery on ESEA News, and you will find that this wasn’t your typical LAN event. In fact, the LAN was the smallest part of the event, just a few rows of tables and chairs carrying gamers of every variety. The rest was full of tabletop gaming (Warhammer, Poke’mon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic,etc.) and vendors selling their merchandise which had a variety almost as expansive as a couple of the groups that flocked to the event. 

I’m going to quickly go through my experience at GottaCon, it’s a tale of laughter, battles with neighboring companies, broken glass, broken hearts, and the falling in and out of love with a woman wearing nothing but tin foil…

I asked for some days off to attend GottaCon, “Umm, no.” (DENIED!). I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, making me get out of work early to catch the 5 O’clock ferry between Vancouver and the Island (Success baby meme). I end up driving 2.5 hours to the ferry, waited 1.5 hours on the ferry, then drove the next 30 minutes to finally arrive. “I made it, I’m da best!” I’m all ready to do a happy dance. I get inside and get blown back, Fus Ro Dah status, the smell was overwhelming (ironically, they were yelling this all weekend). I got passed that, because I don’t try to judge, I feel I’m not perfect so I shouldn’t be putting some sort of boundary between myself and others, but son of a bitch, there was either a dude in a bra and wig dressed as Pikachu or it was a pre-op. I don’t know how disturbing it was to anyone else, but I was not prepared and have never been exposed to that side of a gaming event/convention. But anyways, I got off track. I met up with Stephen (sasquatcH), Matt (Subway), Keegan (Kshack), and Gordon (NearCry) at the LAN, they were situated and about to game it up in the LoL tournament. It got late so we decided to go all out, hit up the local Denny’s and had some food and drinks before heading back to the hotel to get a decent nights sleep (even though I was still in pain from my choice of dining the night before).

The CS:S tournament was an experience that I wasn’t expecting, people under performing to not performing, straight up difficult situations left and right. It doesn’t help that we only played 4 scrims total going into this, but still coming to the finals versus practiced groups of players made it an enjoyable experience. Individually, I didn’t perform enough to compensate, and I will have to always live with the fact that a couple more key frags in certain situations, or a decision made different would have simply put us in a more favorable position in the tournament standings, and I will have to live and learn from that. I will NOT pretend I won 2nd place, because it was an effort the team put in come gametime, and that can never be taken away from the group we played with. We ended up winning 8GB Kit (2x 4GB) of Kingston Hyper-X memory plus a memory cooling fan. We kicked it a bit with the other teams, but we couldn’t get hammered since we decided to play in the BF3 4v4 tournament (which we also took 2nd). I had never played BF3 before, and I had to recognize that debris flying in the wind off in the distance is NOT something to shoot at. It was fun and a learning experience, but we won 750-watt Power Supplies from that as well (which I might add, mine is for sale if anyone wants to buy it from me for a reasonable price). 

Here’s the kicker, the morning of Day 3 (Sunday aka yesterday), my car was parked at the event. It was broken into, multiple items stolen out of it, most importantly my passport was stolen. He made off with a couple of jackets, my passport, random change, a dufflebag full of food, and a few other belongings. Being an American on foreign soil, I wasn’t up shit creek without a paddle, I was up shit river. Fortunately enough the border crossing let myself and Steve through the border with a printed copy of my Birth Certificate (props go to Steve with the idea of getting that emailed to me). We were all worried that I was going to be not only denied entry to the U.S., but possibly detained as they wouldn’t be able to send me back into another country without papers. But fortunately enough, that was not the case, the guard didn’t even really question us much, just let us mosey on through without so much as an inquiry. But back to the gaming experience we had…

If you go back and view any of the streams I broadcasted personally, you will see both the breaking point of players like myself through frustration and constant issues in live matches. I want to point out how I went about them (I used some vulgar language, so I apologize if that offends you). Stephen and I both called 2.5 maps, I took the first set, then he picked up where I faltered and allowed frustration to interrupt my play. I’m not an angry guy, but if you make mistakes at LAN, you better be ready to get called out for it RIGHT AWAY. I will say what you’re doing wrong, but I will also give you a bit of leeway if it’s something as simple as being in a seriously pressured situation. You must be firing on all cylinders, or you will get out shot and out played. Your team can’t have that, so I wanted to clear that up before we went any further. If you don’t have knowledge on playing a site or taking a site, say something! Your team cannot afford to have a preconceived notion, or be mislead, into thinking you know your job/role come match time. You also must have comms! If your team mates say you’re not communicating, don’t argue, it’s pointless. You might not believe it, but if it’s more than just one of your team mates saying it, you most likely are not. If it’s not a failed bind/physical button malfunctioning, it’s a PEBKAC error (Problem Existing Between Keyboard and Chair, aka YOU!). You might just assume you’re pressing your bind, but you really aren’t, and you’re not paying enough attention to know for certain, while your team mates do. MAKE DAMN SURE YOU COMM EVERYTHING. Communicate whether you see a flash coming, or you are flashed, whether they are smoking, or it is smoked and they might be there, whether they are spamming the area, if they nade stacked somewhere, numbers of the opposing team you can verify. It is key that you communicate to your team members both online, and on LAN, but that’s not as easy as it should be. Over communicating and Useless communications are the biggest faults when it comes to playing in tense/stressful situations. Making clear, concise, and accurate calls are what make a match; anything less will break a match. Unless you have the ultimate chemistry from years of playing together, then without communication you will lose. When you’re on point with proper calls, then you will win. The best teams in the world never need to rely solely on their shot to win matches, they win because the calls they make are spot on, which leads the group to the easiest victory that includes the most advantageous opportunities (that mean’s the best shots, in case you didn’t recognize that). You might come to LAN and feel some shaky nerves, anxious, or just simply “off”, this is where experience comes into play. Over the years, I have found HUNDREDS of gamers and top players that no matter their sensitivity, they still drop it down anywhere from 0.1-0.2 in anticipation of their nervous hands being a bit too shaky to hit their shots. Given, not everyone will need to do this, but it’s a good idea to be prepared to know who’s going to be using rifles and who’s going to be using the awps. Please believe, it is pretty important to know what role you and your team mate’s role’s will be come game time. 

Other than that, all weekend it was just kicking it with ‘Thugway n da boyz’. Rollin’ through the streets, never picking anyone up over 18, and laughing a ton. I have another article on how personal selfish play is contradictory to teamwork. 

-J

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I know, I know, you were really excited for me to talk about handcuffs in the bedroom, I apologize. I don’t think we’ve gotten to that point in our relationship that I can share that with you yet. ;)

This will be a segment dedicated to the classification of player types based on the roles they play within the team, but also the weapons they specialize in. First we will go over weapon specialization, looking at the pros and cons in terms of team organization.

Rifle - The majority of what a team is made of, the Rifle is strategically your bread ‘n’ butter. Your Rifles are what will acquire and hold map control, giving your team the information to lessen the amount of defensive positions the CT’s can defend the respective site from. I liken the 3 common types of players to the Alien versus Predator genre, placing the Rifle players in the Alien category (“Xenomorphs”). I place them in that category because of the flexibility they have in their range of play styles, being either a sneaky snake and ambushing you, or rushing your shit down and just clawing your site apart. The rifle player has that range of play styles that he can work with, it makes him much more valuable as he is capable to dealing with close-combat situations but also able to interchange to a long distance firefight.

Awp - The ‘Predator’, aka what everyone wants to be, but typically can’t be consistent. People get shook or nervous far too often, thus love to rifle, because they can’t handle the pressures of having one shot to rely when they are playing. That’s the big difference between a good awper and a great awper, great awpers are comfortable running around with a big green at all times (that doesn’t mean they do). The range of play that an awper’s has is much more restricted than their rifle counterparts. The most notable styles you will see these players perform are aggressive, passive, and lurkers. The aggressive will be the guy with balls, no fear of his opponent while going for the opening pick at the start of the round or the entry into a site. The passive will be completely opposite, while the aggressive will go for the peek, the passive will rely on angles, accuracy, and his reflexes. He’s not the type to peek, but allow someone to peek an angle that exposes them to more than one angle at a time, giving him the easy frag. The lurker is the type of guy who prefers to go to the highest trafficked parts of the map and put on his cement shoes. While he can float around, he typically likes to pick up the rotate frags diminishing the chances of a site assault/retake. 

Hybrid - aka the ‘Predalien’. These are some of your most notable players when viewing the top, the guys who typically can turn coal into diamond, water into wine, shit into sweet, sweet candy. These guys are adept in using both Rifle and Awp, typically your more experienced players, keeping their cool under all situations allowing them to use a higher sensitivity for their rifle, but still having a steady enough hand to awp. The Hybrid usually has a proficient use in both weapon styles, but typically not as well practiced as those who have a focus on a singular weapon. The Hybrid is generally your most valuable asset to the team because of his versatility. While spawns are decided, your awper may not get the best spawn for the opening pick, or your rifle may not be the first into the site on a rush, where as your hybrid has the option to utilize the best spawn every time. 

Entry Fragger - or as I call it, ‘The Can Opener’. This guy is just as crucial as a well placed smoke or a perfect pop flash, because when you’re lacking in those departments, he frags the same people those grenades were supposed to neutralize. He’s basically your guy who spends most of his time deathmatching, fine tuning his aim to the fastest, sharpest, and most consistent he can so the team will always have someone to rely on. This player tends to have the most pride, confidence, and in some cases, hubris. These players are strong, dedicated, and typically your younger players (those with the most time), your drug addicts (Poppin’ adderall and smokin’ weed all day), or players with some sort of untreated mental disorder that just makes their aim bonkers. 

Wingman (Support player) - This is a title I dubbed to the support rifle player, because he god damn deserves it. The Wingman is the unsung hero of the shadows, the Alfred to your Bruce Wayne, the Goose to your Maverick. I have played every role over the years, and I must say, this guy makes people look good. He’s basically your safety line, your big brother, always looking after you, keeping you in check, and making sure you go into every situation with the best chances of success that you can. He’s the guy who throws the smoke, throws the flash, covers you while you’re throwing either or, protecting your awper from all pushes. You can’t function as a unit without this man for he’s the one who does the dirty work not for the glory of the frag, but for the glory of the team. He is the type of person who doesn’t look at the score of how much you won or lost, he’s not the guy who looks at the statistics from the match, the only thing in his eyes is whether that letter adjacent to your team’s match score of a ‘W’ or a ‘L’. 

Spawns - As we briefly touched on there in the Hybrid section, the spawns we have cycle every 5 rounds (Example: Rounds: 1, 5, 9, 13 you will have the same spawn, Rounds: 2, 6, 10, 14 will also be the same). Typically you will have more rifles than awpers on a team, making the odds for one of your rifles to have a good spawn much greater than your awp. The pros and cons are simply inverted: where as you might have great spawns depending on the map, or you might have terrible spawns that are not suited for your players. Given, I am a long time hybrid player (Now more of an awp-role for my team), but I feel hybrid players are far and few between at the high levels; they are an endangered species. 

Team Money - The weapon focus allows for each member of the team to manage their money wisely, but also allow you to rotate people who could help force buys. Generally your awper will have much less money reserved as the rounds go on compared to the rifles on the team, meaning come later rounds, you can typically trade weapons so each member can at least have a minimal buy (Gun+Head/Armor). The common practice of this will allow you to know your team’s money as a whole come from the In-game leaders perspective, and also allow your team to have more gun rounds per half.

I personally feel everyone should be a hybrid, that’s how it used to be back in the day. We didn’t have any of this “I can’t awp” or “I can’t rifle” excuses; everyone could use everything. It just seems like people can’t hang with the idea of using both weapons, and actually have seemingly been able to climb to higher levels in the use of their specific focuses (Be it a mobile tank of an awp, or the impressive spray control of the rifle). 

I feel everyone should play to their own strength and style, because if you’re not playing your own style, then you aren’t playing comfortably. Don’t try to adopt some pro player’s style because you think it will make you a “pro”, it’s ridiculous to even bother. To imitate someone is to be a lesser form of them, meaning you will never surpass them if all you do is copycat their style. To steal or “bite” tactics a pro player uses is fine, assimilate those into your game, but do not halt the development of your own style. You have heard of the “HeatoN spray”, the “Potti spray”, or the “Sword of Stevenson”… Don’t stop until they name something after you.

-J

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Some people have it, some people don’t. You might be asking, ‘what It is’. ‘It’ is the quality of mindset to be able to keep your brain pushing forward with the information you gathered in the previous rounds, formulating a counter-strategy, keeping your team in line, and commanding with a firm stance. I say firm stance, not steel, as you need to be flexible and accept outside perspectives from your team mates as they are effectively 4 other sets of eyes, relaying information to you.

Roar! 

I find that a lot of people in the past that I have tried to help into leaders have had confidence issues. You CANNOT have confidence issues, you must be the Alpha, have the roar of a Lion, the unshakable foundation of a mountain, and the heart of a warrior. The leader stands Captain at the helm, while his team mates are his shipmates. If you do not have a roar that stands distinct above all others in your group, then you must correct this, pronto. The roar of a leader does not just dish out commands, it inspires the troops, it is similar to the war drums of battle. Your voice channels confidence from your vocal cords to your team’s trigger finger, bringing the out the untapped potential of your team mate’s to the surface, creating a squad that NO ONE wants to post up on, use peeker’s advantage, or even get shook thinking “Please don’t come to my site”. Don’t mistake this for being the permission to turn your volume level up to full-blast; the roar can be a simple few words being spoke (not yelled)This is a necessary quality you must have as a leader, to bring your team from a 0-15 half to an Overtime victory, YOU make that difference.

Tactical Reading

Tactical reading is what the greatest of callers utilize, you see it in the form of “On the fly” or “dynamic” calling, where a leader will make a call based on the opponents habits, tendencies, and weak points. The way a leader will do this most commonly is by starting out with Deductive reasoning. He will take note of a number of things: Where did each person die? What time did they die? How many were at that position? Are they nade stacking? Do they smoke out the choke point? Are they timing their nades/flashes? Are they taking early map control? Do they like to flank or rotate safe?… These are just scratches on the surface of what goes on in the head of an In-game leader. The In-game leader will poke and prod his team mates during deadtime like he’s a kid poking a bear with a stick, do not eat your In-game leader! He’s simply trying to get an honest reading of how to approach that next round with the greatest chance of success by breaking down everyone’s individual experiences in their parts of the map. The Tactical read HAS to be accurate as possible, so don’t fill it with a bunch of “The fucking wanker wanked me, I can wank him with my wankey-noodle.” That’s not what your leader needs to hear, he needs to hear pertinent information. The In-game Leader, also has to respect his team mates, don’t be a douchenozzle to your mates. Be respectful, but stern about that you know how they will want to vent, but that’s not going to help your dilemma at the moment.

Knowing what to call

This comes from experience from anything like years of playing competitively, watching thousands of demos, sitting in a server to pioneer new tactics, Tactical reading, and please, for the love of all that is good on this Earth: Have more than 3 strategies. I know far too many people who make the common mistake of thinking they just need to know “Take A”, “Take B”, and “Default”. You can get away with this bullshit if your shots are untouchable like Bruce Willis, but the day you or your team is having an off day, you will feel the repercussions quite severely. Have a couple of different takes for each site, utilizing the different routes to the individual sites with efficiency. Every map in the competitive circuits on all continents/leagues have the latent potential to have an endless number of strategies, contrary to what you see every day by a majority of teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are doing something wrong. In fact, I’m saying they have found the most efficient strategies that work with their team. The alternative to memorizing a strategy is writing it down. Sticky note it to your monitor, Notepad it in your CS:S folder, Get a binder and stash it in their with some sweet sharpie designs, anything that makes it easier to remember your strats or what you have ran already. You can jot down a check mark for each time you have ran that particular strategy in that scrim/clan war. Just be sure to practice all of your strategies. 

You have more than one strategy, now call them!

Do not fall into the habit of “Oh, the strategy worked 4 rounds in a row, lets keep doing it”. Trust me, I have been an idiot and done this, and it may be beneficial to your opponents in forcing them to learn that they need to adjust, but it is not beneficial or an efficient use of your time to do that as it is obvious they do not know how to defend against the strategy. Move on and find a team that can and learn from it, until you find that other team, run other strategies. If you have 8 strategies, and maybe 3-4 of them have specific flashes/smokes with times and placements, then you’re going to want to test them in a live setting. Dry-running is to get people use to running the motions, since most of the time people have issues remembering what they are doing when it goes live, meaning this has a good reason to do. Although, a strategy that is not properly tested is something I have dubbed as Theory-Strike: The unproven and untested realm of strategies, flashes, smokes, and positions. You as a leader need to be confident in what you are calling when it counts (match/tournament time), so you must make sure all of your strategies have been brought out of the realm of Theory-Strike and applied to the game we are playing.

To end things off, I want to explain that these are just a few qualities you need to have as a leader, but also know that even if you don’t have ‘It’ right off the bat does NOT mean you can’t attain ‘It' through experience. Sure, it takes longer for some more than others, but it all depends on your personal learning curve, and who you have mentoring you through the process. We all learned directly and indirectly from players we admired, or aspired to beat. These players could be your neighbor, your best friend, or your rival/arch nemesis. You just need to accept the idea that you will plateau if you are arrogant, ignorant, or stubborn; and it's not just you that is going through this: Your team is. If you’re trying to become a better leader, then please respect your mates for standing by and supporting you making the effort, don’t degrade them because of your position. You are looked to for guidance, and no one wants to look to someone childish for guidance. 

A lot of players/teams have chimed about this online about how “immature” players are, leaders and soldiers alike. I only feel the best way to answer that is with the quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  -Mahatma Gandhi

-J

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I’m talking about the most common reason that most players leave teams, teams cut players, and entire teams disband: Internal Communication. This is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you want to know more, read this first and then ask.

  • Respect
  • Delivery
  • Setting
  • Content

These are just 4 areas that I believe that should be observed to have cooperation and longevity in a team.

Respect - Or the missing link in most teams, players tend to always have tension among the ranks of their team, little or small; it stems from the lack of respect. If you don’t respect a player, ask yourself why you don’t respect them. Are they selfish? Emotional? Thick-headed? Lack “skill”? Indifferent? Immoral? You have to identify what exactly why you or your team mate do not have respect for each other. Once you identify the root of the problem, then you have to search within yourself and figure out whether or not this is something you feel is actually a big deal or if it has been exaggerated, most of the time it is the latter. You must reserve a small amount of respect with your team mates no matter what, or the flood gates of discord will open and ruin any chance of rectifying the situation. 

I personally do not believe in the phrase “I can’t respect…”, Get rid of it, the word ‘can’t’. When you’re dealing with people, a job, a task, an obstacle of any kind, you need to remove that word from your vocabulary. I hear people use that word as their scapegoat for not trying, which is complete bullshit, it’s a cop out. You are a human being, meaning you can do anything if you have the desire to make the change happen. You are more than likely in your teens to early twenties, meaning you have no excuse not to understand this lesson. Growing up (Yes, I said growing up) is difficult for a lot of people, but the minute you want the respect you believe you deserve or “earned”, then you have to give that equivalent amount of respect to the other. The moment you decide to extend the olive branch with earnest intent to show that person you respect them is right when you know you’re able to grow up. Squash the beef, don’t be a fiend for drama and get back to why you’re even playing CS:S, for the fun and enjoyment you get out of competition. Because you’re not going to be able to have fun when you’re beefin’.

Delivery - “You’re a fucking idiot”, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT”, “STOP DYING”, “You’re a bad player”… I bet everyone of us can admit we have either been the courier or recipient of one of these messages. 

The delivery for each individual you will encounter is unique and differs from another. You can all admit there have been times you have typed out a post that in your mind comes out at as sarcastic but then the reader gets their panties in a bunch and takes it the wrong way. Every person you meet in life is a loaded gun; while some may keep their cool better than others, everyone has a mental trigger that can turn your seemingly friendly team mate into the most volatile persecutor you could have ever imagined. Knowing your team through and through will help you avoid those triggers while still being able to talk/give criticism to your mates.

Setting - There is a time & place for all things team related, it all depends on your team’s united personality. Team’s come to decisions on when and where it is appropriate to deliver criticism: Dry-run, Pregame, Half-time, Mid-round, Dead time, Buy time, Postgame, End of practice, or even the next day. These are only the common times on when criticism is given among most teams, there are a few others that a little more unique, but lets not dive into those until we cover the gist of these ones first. The timing as I said is dependent on the team’s personality, and I mean that because most team’s have players on them where you have common goals, interests, hobbies, or senses of humor. People will scowl at each other when they are confronted with criticism in the wrong setting, so you can either learn it through trial and error, or simply ask everyone on your team. I recommend asking ahead of time as to avoid someone feeling disrespected.

Content - Have meaning behind what you say, and don’t be long winded. I personally hate it when someone thinks they are being tactful by tip toeing around the issue, but being long winded is on a whole other level of annoying. Don’t be that guy who takes 20 minutes to say ‘I don’t think you should have…’. That’s the most annoying thing to a lot of players. If you’re going to talk to someone, think about what you want to say then say it; using a bunch of filler sentences and words does not do the trick because that’s not what helps your team mate. What helps your team mate is the information enveloped in your words, not the sound of your own voice. 

Practices are ruined, Matches are lost, and most importantly, your time is wasted. Take a step back from the keyboard at times and actually work out the situations by yourself before conferring with your mates, form a opinion after you consult others. Don’t just ask one person about it, that’s silly as most of the time, you will seek out someone you have the most in common with on the subject and will ultimately just try to re-affirm your own insecurities as to you being “right”. Get off it! You’re playing a Team game. There is a lot of psychology that goes into interacting with other humans in real life, so apply what you know about the real world interactions with people to your own team mates, because they are humans also. :P

Cheers,

-J

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Greetings, and welcome to my first post on this Tumblr thing-a-majig. I honestly saw this as an opportunity to branch out a little further for the community, where as the stream might help those adept at learning vocally, this will help those adept at absorbing the information via text-based explanations.

Here’s the first couple of terms you will hear from me:

"Overshoot" - When reacting (commonly known as “flicking” or “whipping”) to an opponent, you find your crosshair is actually passing the intended target. 

"Undershoot" - While reacting to an opponent, you find you’re having to push yourself (or “work harder”) just to bring your crosshair to the intended target.

You need to understand which one of these your sensitivity identifies with, then you will be able to take your first steps toward finding the sensitivity that is for you. 

Now I want to explain why people always say “Rifle? Use high sensitivity” or “Awp? Use low sensitivity”. While these both have solid reasoning and logic, your weapon choice should not be what you base your sensitivity on. In fact, it should be reversed: Use the sensitivity that you feel comfortable/natural with, then you will find which weapon best falls in line with your sensitivity with time & practice. I may use a low sensitivity, but I am in a long time affair with high sensitivity and rifling in CS:S, but I stay true to a low sensitivity for my team (FragMachines) because I care more about my job for the team than I care about looking cool. I have played with every sensitivity over the last 7 years, giving myself the ability to function and control either high or low with little time necessary to adapt/re-learn the muscle memory. I don’t recommend anyone who is just starting out to do this, if you’re trying to make longer strides in your skill in a shorter amount of time, you want to become the most consistent you can with the least amount of variables coming into the equation.

High sensitivity - The benefits of this are more noticeable for Rifle players than Awp players because of the added amount of control you can have while spraying at someone. While some may say “spraying is mmBAD!”, I agree to a point. I agree that it is NOT appropriate to spray a single opponent from Bombsite A to Pit (De_Dust2), I do believe that while being faced with 2+ opponents without the possibility to retreat to cover in between bursts, a solid spray could be your savior when your back is against the wall. I guarantee that top-tier players will get the trade if you’re trying to gamble that you can get two separate bursts off, hence why a spray that has no intermission between targets is most suitable when in a that style of situation. The other situation why having a high sensitivity is a good thing is while clearing corners for map or site control, it is likely your opponent will be predicting that and go for the shot when your back is turned. Being able to flip the 180 on your opponent has saved more lives than FEMA did during Hurricane Katrina because it seems a lot of players have anxiety when targeting a opponents back (Don’t ask me why, I just know it’s a mental block for a lot of players). The talented players who have mastered high sensitivity are the scariest in the game, having the the gamesense of a top player and the sensitivity/accuracy of an aimbot? Those players have the motto of “Come at me, bro!”.

Low sensitivity - The Awper of your team more than likely is accustomed to a low sensitivity, making his shot the most consistent on the team, and sometimes even feared by your opponents. Using a sensitivity on the lower end of the spectrum are the guys you see always making those Clips of them getting 5x 1deag Headshots. It’s commonly accepted and most players use a lower sensitivity because they either: 1. Lack control 2. Buckle under pressure (shaky hands) or 3. Team Awper/Hybrid. The low sensitivity has it’s up’s and down’s, just like a high sensitivity: having the consistent shot, but no range of motion. Your low sensitivity users are those that need to be step(s) ahead of your opponents, the prediction skills to recognize they can’t flip the bird and help themselves. You’re lucky to see a low sensitivity user to turn 90 degrees before dying, making hitting that 180 degree shot is going to be next to impossible. 

Just because we see a relation between sensitivities and choice of primary weapons does NOT mean that is scripture, it means those are simply favorable. You could use a sensitivity of 25 and awp people all day, or have a sensitivity of .034 and have a sick spray. It’s just these are suggestions from first-hand experience, but also information passed down over the years from competitive gamer to competitive gamer. 

Zoom Sensitivity - This is arguably the most personal preferential setting you can deal with. Source has a default zoom_sensitivity_ratio of “1”, while CS 1.6 has a zoom_sensitivity_ratio of “1.2”, I use a zoom_sensitivity_ratio of “0.8”. I choose a lower zoom sensitivity for the rock-solid consistent accuracy I have when shooting my target. I know a lot of people get anxious while anticipating that guy who’s “about to” round the corner, they look like they just watched one of those trolling youtubes that scream at you, waving their mouse around in fright. When you’re posted up on a corner and you’re expecting someone to peek it, you should only be focusing on clicking that mouse1. The zoom sensitivity doesn’t matter, it’s just another setting that lowers the risk that you Overshoot your intended target.

"Cap your FPS" - You might be wondering “Bro, I get 500 fps on all maps, why should I cap it?”. For consistency, you want to cap your FPS so that there is not a fluctuation in your FPS when playing at any given time. You’re not building true muscle memory if your FPS is constantly going from 100-300 and every where in between while gaming on different maps, in & out of firefights. If you can, I recommend capping at reasonable levels such as: 76, 121, 151, 201. If you can get some astronomical FPS (999FPS on all areas of all maps, in & out of firefights) and you don’t plan to play as a serious competitor, then this doesn’t apply to you. If you’re going to LAN tournaments with tournament PCs provided, and if it can’t get the FPS you get at home, it will create a mental block that you will have to overcome (that’s the last thing you need when money is on the line). The specific FPS doesn’t really matter, but those I listed are common FPS caps I have seen pro players use over the years, it can be any arbitrary number to be perfectly honest, just as long as it never goes below that number.

"Stay true to your settings" - If you can’t stay consistent with your settings, then your results will not be consistent. You DeathMatch to build your muscle memory around your settings, you won’t make any progress in this if you keep forcing your muscles to relearn the sensitivity, you cannot blame anyone but yourself for not finding your shot.

DeathMatch - Deathmatching is not required, but is basically putting yourself on the fast track for developing your muscle memory. If you’re just starting out on a new sensivity/DPI/mouse/refresh rate/resolution, I recommend the following schedule:

First 3 DM Sessions:

Deagle - 100 frags

M4 - 100 frags

AK - 100 frags

Awp - 100 frags

*Take a break/Stop for the night* 

You’re less likely to get frustrated in a DM than you are a pug/scrim/match, and when we get frustrated we do silly things such as changing sensitivities and settings. Don’t let this happen to you! Just space your sessions out, and as you get more comfortable, you can lower the amount of frags per weapon down to 75, 50, 25 and then to nothing; you will have developed your muscle memory to being spot on. You can DM more weapons such as Famas (Clarion), Galil (Defender), Glock, USP, Dualies (:D) to spice things up a bit and make DM’ing less of a chore.

Mouse Acceleration - Turn it off. There are a rare number of gamers that I have met over the years where they have played with acceleration for years upon years and it’s natural for them to compensate for it. Most players can’t hang with it, especially those who’s nerves get rattled or shaken in clutch situations/under pressure. This is merely a recommendation if you wish to build your muscle memory with one less hoop to jump though. 

Things that DO NOT MATTER:

Resolution - Just make sure you can see your opponent, but I recommend a resolution you are familiar with.

DPI - 400DPI/CPI is not better than 6400DPI/CPI. Make your selection based on what you like through trial & error (testing).

[Insert Pro Player Name]’s Config - This will not make you a better than someone else. It is a placebo effect.

Crosshair - You shouldn’t be straining your eyes to see your crosshair, you should use that effort to focus on the game you’re playing, not looking for your crosshair.

Mouse/Mousepad - The mouse and mousepad don’t matter, as long as they are compatible. Some mice don’t track on certain pads, making it skip or glitch out your mouse. I recommend a mousepad that compliments your sensitivity (Lower sensitivity, Large pad. Higher sensitivity, small/medium pad).

Right/Left hand models - It’s personal preference. Quake players will attest that having a gun model just clutters the screen, making the crosshair the primary focal point for a player. I do recommend to players to switch it up, test the waters to see which they like, but I have always preferred matching my mousehand and my gun models. 

If you feel like you want a more in-depth analysis on anything I mentioned here (whether or not I deemed it imporant), I will. :D

Have a good one!

-J

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