ESL ESEA Season 2 finals bring a close to competitive CSGO for the year


High-level play in the world’s most competitive FPS finished this weekend as ESL’s ESEA Season 2 finished up its global finals in Burbank, California. The eight best teams from the NA and EU regional leagues, which have been running since September, convened to bullet, bomb-plant and battle it out for their share of $250,000 and being the unofficial champions of 2015.

It’s hard to be the best FPS ever, but CSGO’s making a good go of it.

For regular viewers of Counter-Strike, the tournament went as predicted, at least to begin with. The four American teams were quickly eliminated by their superior European bretheren, who filed from the group stage into the bracket in an orderly fashion. At least by seeding, the next pair of results were an upset, with both teams that lost in groups beating those that came first in theirs, setting up Na’vi vs. Fnatic in the finals as EnvyUs and ex-TSM ‘?’ headed home.

I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, as it was a fantastic best of five between the two teams. Na’vi put up a great showing against the best team in the world and lots of games went the full thirty rounds of Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist action. Here’s game one, with the rest being linked through Liquipedia, if you’d like to see them:

Spoiler warning and recommendation given, you have been told of the following paragraph.

Congratulations to Fnatic for clutching it out and maintaining their reputation. Na’vi meanwhile manage to move into third place in HLTV’s semi-official rankingsand really did push Fnatic to the limit, despite going down two games early after some heartbreaking defeats.

Meanwhile, the fallout continues over on Reddit and elsewhere about the recent patch. Now that the new R8 revolver has been nerfed to be a little more reasonable, the eyes of the community and some pros have fallen on the changes to shortened bomb timers and rifle accuracy. Essentially, additional randomness has been introduced to the way guns fire, making it less predictable and, some feel, lowering the skill ceiling. These changes have only been implemented on the two M4s and the AK47, Counter-Strike’s most used as the best bang-for-buck available in the game.

The feedback and anger over these changes is far more muted than it was for the R8, but nonetheless is reaching the multiple-thousands-of-upvotes level of outrage. Pros are more split, some defending the changes as forcing the community to adapt in the same way that MOBA players regularly do, keeping the game fresh. Others disagree with the precise implementation, preferring the worse guns be buffed rather than the best guns be nerfed from their dominant positions. Others would prefer that the game, which has endured for decades even if its mega-success has only really occured in the past couple of years, stay the same.

What do you think?