We made some adjustments to rifles recently, and those changes have been causing a lot of pain in the CS:GO community. The pain was the result of a few mistakes we made, and while we usually prefer to avoid disrupting conversations happening in the community, we wanted to talk about some of the thinking that led to the recent changes as well as our plan for moving forward.
Why change rifles at all?
In CS:GO, spraying is generally the most popular way of firing a rifle. We can see this pretty clearly in the rifle data that we collect internally, and it’s something we hear the community discussing frequently.
Because we think it’s valuable for players to have choices when they’re thinking about how to engage an opponent, we looked at ways to make tapping/bursting a bit more appealing. The hope was that by encouraging more deliberate firing, we would add something skillful that players could use to their advantage.
As a first step toward this goal, we increased recoverytime for the AK-47, M4A4, and M4A1-S. For a detailed breakdown of the change and its impact, check out this excellent community post by lalush.
Unfortunately, our implementation failed in a few ways.
For one thing, increasing inaccuracy while spraying also comes with reduced accuracy for all forms of firing. Proportionally, spraying was the most impacted, but we underestimated the impact that the change would have on players who were already firing in shorter bursts.
As it turns out, the adjustments didn’t really achieve the goal either – our rifle data shows that players in all skill groups are still spraying more than tapping or bursting.
It’s difficult to measure the impact on gameplay when too much changes at once. The Winter Update came with some really huge changes to gameplay, including a new weapon, an adjustment to pistols, and the rifle change. Since we likely changed too much too quickly, in today’s update we’re rolling back both the rifle and pistol adjustments to their pre-Winter Update state.
We failed to anticipate the reaction of the community to changes in such heavy-use weapons, and we clearly need to re-evaluate our process for making and communicating about changes in that space. We still think there’s value in trying to find a better balance for pistols and more skillful ways to use rifles, so we hope to tackle rifles and pistols again in the future.
We’re constantly reading community feedback and while we don’t often respond directly, understanding the community is one of the most important parts of working on CS:GO. Mistakes happen, but when they do, we’re committed to making sure they get fixed.
The CS:GO Team