There are going to be those that question my credibility when talking about this subject which is absolutely natural, you don’t know me likely. I am an older player from 1.6 and CS:S more predominately, I have had small stints in a few line-ups over the years in CSGO but I have always supported the game as an e-Sport seeing it’s ups and it’s downs (more so it’s downs, especially in the UK).
I was delighted when I was asked to write an article, I was given the freedom of whatever I wanted and this was the perfect opportunity to get some baggage off my chest which I have been wanting to rant about for quite some time now. Bear in mind this is purely my own opinion, but that isn’t the point there is a stagnant problem with the UKCS scene. Although I can give credit to where it’s due it’s gotten a lot better and more exciting in recent times but it’s still missing a variety of things.
What are we missing?
It’s plain as daylight what we are missing and that’s teams, now don’t get me wrong in no way is this a dig at any of the current higher echelon teams within the UK, this is me being direct to the struggling player base the UK has. We don’t have as many resources as we once did in terms of tournaments, LAN events and even opportunity. Once a respected, flourishing online ladder based gaming league Enemydown pioneered a place for the grass-roots teams within the CS:S scene to thrive and develop, the open ladder was always a place for new or lower skilled teams to be able to test where they were and thus being able to know where to improve.
It had more of a community sense about it as opposed to a league, the admins which they had at the time were a phenomenal team which was probably why the league ran as well as it did. Unfortunately, UkeSA ruined it for everyone when they ran rampant through the scene and essentially stole money from players which put doubt in a lot of minds, especially the minds of the higher quality players throughout the UK. TNWA wasn’t an ideal advocate for developing teams like the league once was and this forced the admin team to leave, they were going to develop their own league which unfortunately never materialised.
The reason I specifically name-drop Enemydown is because they had such a unique format for developing talent. Teams that stayed together and improved in the league usually went on to have strong performances at LAN such as iSeries which was a benchmark for CS at the time. This brings me onto the next point, another important factor for developing teams is LAN showing, there is no doubt that I saw an increase in productivity, drive and focus within my own individual skill and my teams skill after every LAN event we attended. There was a fruitful LAN scene in the UK at one point iSeries was an event that attracted some of the best teams in Europe, Omega Sektor in Birmingham, UK EPS which every team in the UK would aim for and the likes of CGS with their qualifiers, is just a handful of what was on offer.
Although a lot of these LAN events were high tier events the qualifiers for them gave teams some drive, something to aim for, it put passion in the hearts of young UK talent, wanting to make a name for themselves. We don’t see the same passion from the lower and medium skilled teams within the CS hierarchy, this is because there aren’t as many opportunities for them provided.
What can be done to change?
As I said previously, the current higher spectrum of the UK are flying the flag as best as they can and, in my opinion, are doing a great job. I love watching some of the UK games as much as watching tier one and two teams. A lot of these games are featured in some of the biggest CSGO betting sites too, with the latest e-sports matches from William Hill. If we want the climate within UKCS to develop then there definitely needs to be some changes.
There needs to be more development leagues like the old Enemydown, giving players an open ladder to openly challenge one another gives players more hope, I personally believe in winning games which gives them more drive, in the end, allowing the team to progressively get better through hard work. Not enough teams have the drive to stick it through right now, we are seeing the same players in rotation of line-ups, although various names have come through, unfortunately, we lost one of those names to contractual issues with Smooya.
Although there are various leagues out there right now for young teams to play in (ESEA which you can easily develop your skills in) nothing is really catered to the UK specifically which is a shame as we used to have such a strong scene with a lot of breakthrough talent. I wholeheartedly believe if we had a league based within the UK which had a talented admin team it could possibly pump more passion and drive back into the players.
Regular LAN tournaments are an issue, we currently have essentially iSeries which comes round what is now looking like once a year, Epic LAN which comes around two or three times a year and then you have Gfinity Elite series which the title kind of gives it away, it’s for the best of the best which isn’t really a grass-roots LAN event. Now it would be lovely for me to turn around and say “Support what we already have” but it’s hard when the same mistakes happen by the organisations, I would urge you to support the current LAN events and if there is an issue immediately voice it directly to them and keep on at them, become an advocate for what you want and push for improvement. GAME are looking at this issue and are doing something to combat this with their Belong by GAME company.
In conclusion I just think that the scene is lacking drive, patience and willingness by the players that reside within it, if this offends you then it’s probably aimed at you because this doesn’t apply to everyone within the UK CS scene, there are a lot of people working hard to try and make a name for it. In no way am I saying this is specifically the problem as it isn’t we lack opportunities but if people would push for those opportunities then maybe we would see some change.