Valve has a certain history of changing weapon-balance or adding entirely new weapons to the game. The addition of the USP-S and M4a1-S was their first ever attempt to do so and those two are some of the most used guns in the CS:GO today, because of their accuracy and the unique ability to hide bullet traces through smokes.
At the same time, not every attempt by Valve to bring us new and different weapons has been equally successful. The constant balancing problems with the CZ75-Auto come to mind, as this weapon never seems to be in a healthy state. In its strongest points in existence, the automatic pistol felt like any mini-rifle, only being hold back by the small magazine capacity, while in its weakest moments, no CT would pick it over the reliable Five-Seven and the Terrorists would rather stick to the spamming-pistol that is the Tec-9.
Today, those two pistols are much more popular than the CZ75, but we see it being picked up occasionally, which is probably the healthiest it gets, when talking about an automatic pistol that used to be a minor disaster for professional play, as well as matchmaking.
When talking about new weapons being introduced to the game, you gotta talk about the R8-Revolver, or as Duncan “Thorin” Shields called it so accurately in a video right after its introduction “Wild West nightmare”. Now this pistol is gotta be considered the biggest balancing problem to date in the history of CS:GO. For many casual players like myself, this abomination of a gun came out of nowhere and it seemed like, Valve didn’t even bother to beta-test it. Instead of the very competitive and pitch-perfect play, that’s required to play CS:GO the highest level, everyone would just be running around with this 850$ pistol and hope, they would get a one-shot body shot on someone with the ridiculous spam, the revolver offered with the secondary fire mode.
The only silver-lining to this whole catastrophe was that you wouldn’t be able to buy it in pistol rounds, but at the same time you would be able to buy it in any other round, which makes this just a minor way to reduce the damage it did to matchmaking on release.
Yes, I said that it seemed like Valve had never beta-tested the R8, but it shouldn’t take any statistics or players telling you to realize that an 850$ weapon with the same strength as the 4750$ AWP is just ludicrously overpowered and being able to spam that weapon with a huge amount of RNG involved kills any chance for healthy competitive play altogether.
The R8-Revolver was rightfully hit with the nerf-hammer and hasn’t seen any viability afterwards.
Since this disaster, Valve didn’t try to introduce any new weapons to the game.
Instead, they did focus on map-reworks or tweaks for older and newly reworked maps alike. That is, up until now. The R8-Revolver is going to receive some changes, regarding its firepower and delay on the primary and secondary fire mode, but I do not think, it’s going to be picked too much over the Desert-Eagle. Instead, this is going to be about the upcoming changes to the Negev. Although not being a completely new addition to CS:GO, the Negev was completely overhauled for filling a new niche that didn’t previously exist.
The LMG used to be a gun you would buy, if you were already 12 rounds ahead and on your way to a certain victory. While not being an outright bad weapon with high damage and a huge magazine of 150 bullets to play with, the randomness of the spray-pattern, as well as a ludicrous price-tag of 5750$, which is more than players were able to spend at any point in the game, while still preserving a stable economy.
This is going to change, with the Negev likely ending up at 4000$ in total, although at the time of me publishing this article, you can buy it for just 2000$ for testing purposes, so be prepared to see this weapon a lot, should you decide to queue up for matchmaking right now.
The more drastic change, the Negev is going to receive is way more impactful to the overall gameplay of CS:GO. Instead of firing two accurate bullets and just spraying wildly in front of you afterwards, the LMG fires uncontrollably, before becoming as accurate as a laser pointer, afer the player holds down the left mouse button for around two seconds.
This is a completely fresh type of weapon with some new options, regarding gameplay.
You might just decide to hold down a chokepoint through a smoke and buy some precious seconds for your teammates to arrive, once you hear the Terrorists stepping on the other side. A less thought of option would be, to deny the CTs a spot right trough a wall, while your teammates take the site. One aspect about the new Negev is making me really concerned though. The newly introduced and even slower walking speed might just make this a CT-only gun. Sure, you do have options as a Terrorist, as I have just pointed out, but they are very limited to spots, you can actually shoot at through a wall and this makes taking a careless CT down, who is currently holding the Negev much less punishing overall than with any other gun in the game. Sure, you might be able to hold off an incoming retake much easier, but other than that you are going to switch back to an AK at the end of the round to be more prepared for the next one.
Also, while being a new option, which I personally do desire, I think that the Negev is going to unnecessarily slow down the game with its ability to hold down the entrance to a site for way too long in my opinion.
Now, with all of this information, should Valve never touch weapon mechanics again?
I don’t really think so. After all, we surely do have many unexplored concepts to come to CS:GO in the future and Valve’s willingness to find new niches for weapons definitely is an improvement over the disaster that was the R8-Revolver. I just don’t think, we currently need a weapon to slow down the game even more. It can sometimes be tedious to make it onto a bombsite with Molotovs, Smokes, Flashes and of course the AWP, as it is.
The CTs don’t lack tools to help their teammates rotate over to a bombsite and the new Negev is just another one of those. That said, I’m excited for the next rework, Valve is going to introduce to CS:GO and I just hope, it’s going to speed up the game again.