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The state of e-sports: LoL, Dota 2, CS:GO, Hearthstone

CSGO Stream

CS:GO

Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen

Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen is a writer at HLTV.org and former competitive CS 1.6 player from 2004-2013. Since then, he has been casting and hosting CS:GO tournaments.

What was the highpoint of 2014 for CS:GO?

I believe the highpoint of 2014 for CS:GO was when NiP won ESL One Cologne. The way it happened probably made it the best storyline of the entire year—you really couldn’t have scripted it much better. To top that off, CS:GO as a game broke all the previous records (viewership, players, etc.) during that same event, though they were again shattered later on in 2014.

How would you describe the health of the CS:GO scene?

CS:GO is doing tremendously well. There is no question that Counter-Strike as a whole has never been doing better. It seems—though it would be great if Valve could clarify—that we’re set to have three or so majors a year now, which allows the rest of the circuit to be built around it. As far as I can tell we’re going to have top notch Counter-Strike all-year round in 2015. It’s a great time to be a fan of the game.

If you could ask Valve to make one change, what would it be?

In my opinion, and I have written about this in more detail roughly a month ago, the only real issue with CS:GO as of right now is that it is an incredibly counter-terrorist sided game. In my article I have outlined some ideas to make the game more balanced, but if I had to choose just one, it would be fixing the smokes so they’d maybe last a second or two less, would be slightly smaller (think 10-20%) and, most importantly, they wouldn’t glitch for the player trying to go through them.

In terms of CS:GO, what do you think was the funniest thing that happened last year?

I found it legitimately hilarious when Fifflaren essentially replaced me as the analyst at DreamHack events after retiring from NiP. Contrary to popular opinion there are no hard feelings between us and he actually is my favorite caster to watch.

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What is the biggest challenge that the competitive CS:GO scene faces in 2015?

I actually believe the scene is getting slightly oversaturated in terms of tournaments and online leagues, and we are already seeing some top level teams withdraw from many events with a good amount of prize money up for grabs.

Who are the players or teams you think will make the biggest impact this year?

Though kennyS already is the world’s best player individually in my opinion, his team’s struggles in 2014 didn’t allow for him to have the kind of impact you would expect. I think that will change in 2015 as he continues improving and the team around him will get better.

What weapon or knife skins are you running right now? Is there anything in the Chroma update that you’d really like to get?

In terms of skins my taste is far too conservative for the average user, I tend to like skins without any odd graphical features. I like the Night knives, as opposed to the shiny Chroma ones, for example.

What do you think are the key components of a good CS:GO stream?

Since my personal appetite for streams is so inconsistent with that of the public, I will answer for what I believe makes for a popular stream. You need positive personalities who can kill some time while waiting for matches, preferably some players as guest analysts sometimes, and you need to be consistent in streaming. As for my personal preference, to me it’s very important that CS:GO itself looks default – I dislike custom crosshairs, odd-colored HUDs, etc.

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What Twitch chat meme makes you secretly smile?

My friend allu, who currently plays for Finnish 3DMAX, has a ridiculous looking meme of a face I made around eight years ago. It’s pretty funny.

Where do you expect the next big innovation in CS:GO to come from?

Well it wouldn’t be very innovative if I called it out right now, would it? One thing is for sure—it will not come from Valve, who have never been very innovative when it comes to the game. Hopefully a governing body of some kind could be put together by some people to help better organize the tournament circuit. That would be good for the scene.

Is item betting helping or hurting CS:GO?

To be honest I have never bought the argument for how betting could potentially be hurting CS:GO. There is so much evidence in terms of viewership growth that betting is great for CS:GO that this really should not be a discussion. It is easy to blame DDoSing only on betting, but it was already taking place in the CS 1.6 days when betting didn’t really exist. Some people just want to see the world burn.

If you could pick the competitive map pool, what would be in it?

Out of the maps that are currently available, I would keep de_cache, de_dust2, de_inferno, de_mirage and de_overpass. I would then bring back de_train instead of de_nuke—which is basically never played—and replace de_cobblestone with de_season. I would also look into bringing on de_tuscan, maybe instead of de_mirage, if that becomes popular—and gets finished—at some point.