After a rocky release in 2012 due to being developed by a third-party company, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has come a long way. This is the result of Valve taking over what was rightfully theirs, and leading the game to glory by making the right decisions at the right time, and fixing the wrong decisions swiftly, such as releasing obviously broken weapons (R8 Revolver).
Although the game’s eSports scene has picked it up on its own, the last few months have brought a lot of new teams and fans to the game due to Valve starting to listen to the demands of its (now quite large) fanbase. Over the past few months, CS:GO has gotten a lot of significant updates, including a complete remake of one of its most popular maps, de_nuke, and a new operation consisting of 7 additional maps, which will be available until the end of the operation, in June. Valve has also announced that from the start of this year, all majors (the biggest tournaments backed by Valve) will have a prize pool of 1 million dollars.
The first tournament to be held since that announcement will be MLG Columbus, and given the company organizing the tournament, it is also going to be the biggest CS:GO major to date. Major League Gaming, better known as MLG, is a professional eSports organization, which has reached its peak in the Halo 3-era, and has recently started becoming a meme, with kids screaming “MLG!” when pulling off trickshots in First Person Shooters. However, from what we’ve seen so far, the production value on this event is going to be fantastic.
The head of production is extremely active on the Global Offensive subreddit, where the most vocal CS:GO fans are, and listens to their demands. Additionally, they have also taken some fantastic decisions, such as giving away a free CS:GO pin (items worth 12 dollars exclusive to major events) to all ticket holders. Given that this will be the first major held in North America, it means a lot in determining the future of competitive CS:GO events.
However, it’s not the production that is the most important here: it’s the competitive scene. IEM Katowice 2016 has taken place at the start of this month, and it was the proving grounds for a lot of popular teams. That event has seen a lot of fantastic plays from some of the best teams in the world, and has even reached record viewer counts. That being said, IEM Katowice 2016 has set the bar up high for MLG Columbus, and has given fans a feel of the state of the scene in the present: the best teams in the world losing to smaller ones, and fan-favorite players becoming bottom-fraggers.
In fact, PashaBiceps, one of the most loved players in the world, has played extremely poorly lately, and depending on his performance at MLG Columbus, he may be required to retire from the professional CS:GO scene.
Given that MLG Columbus is a major, there are already stickers on sale, which feature both the team logos and the player signatures. Stickers can be placed on skins and weapons, and can be used to play in the “Pick-Em Challenge”, a fantasy CS:GO bracket, which if played properly, can net you a virtual trophy for display on the in-game scoreboard. The major status also means that every match will be streamed in-game, and by watching it in-game or on Twitch (with a Steam account linked), you can receive drops, which contain a random “souvenir” weapon which commemorates the event.
MLG Columbus will take place between March 29 and April 3, making for 4 days of great CS:GO skill and amazing plays from the best teams in the world.