CS:GO Sources Say: Who TSM is Pursuing? Also latest news on ScreaM, Ex6tenz and huNter - Dexerto
CS:GO

CS:GO Sources Say: Who TSM is Pursuing? Also latest news on ScreaM, Ex6tenz and huNter

Published: 15/Feb/2019 17:46 Updated: 15/Feb/2019 22:38

by Jarek "DeKay" Lewis

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The IEM Katowice 2019 CS:GO Major is now in full swing, but of course moves are still going on behind closed doors. This week we’re focusing on TSM, Ex6tenz, ScreaM and huNter.

“Sources Say” is a regular column that focuses discussions and behind-the-scenes developments I can confirm or plainly just feel confident are happening, even if they don’t lead to any official moves. 

“X team are targeting Y player,” or “A player has been practicing with B team,” — that type of stuff.

IntelThe IEM Katowice Major kicked off in Poland on February 13.

The Challengers Stage of the IEM Katowice Major has by and large exposed some of the veteran lineups in the field. It is depressing to see G2 Esports face off against Fnatic in a 1-2 elimination match, when so much talent and experience exists between the two. 

Ninjas in Pyjamas are in the same boat and their form leaves much to be desired thus far. It seems almost unreasonable to think these teams are capable of such a low level of play.

That is how professional competition works though, it will leave you behind. The game doesn’t care about what you’ve accomplished, the only thing that matters is the present. Regardless of how these teams finish, I believe the three organizations are overvaluing their older players. 

The two could use an injection of youth and/or a change in leadership, in my opinion. I don’t understand why consistent under performance has become so acceptable as of late. Do you want to win Majors or just sell mouse pads?

With that out of the way, plenty of talk is occurring away from the Major.

TSM reaches out to tarik and smooya

DreamHackCould tarik soon find himself on a new roster?

TSM has reached out to a number of benched individuals, including tarik and Smooya. 

The latest rumor has been that tarik has an offer from TSM that includes building a team around himself. It is a bit unclear if he will take them up on it, but making him a central piece of the organization will be tough to turn down. 

As with all roster moves in the works right now, most decisions won’t be made until after the Major finishes.

Ex6tenz and ScreaM in talks with Draken and Hampus 

ScreaM and ex6tenz are in talks to join a new roster after the Major.

Ex6tenz and ScreaM have been in talks with players from Red Reserve, including Draken and Hampus. 

Last I was told they hadn’t even practiced yet or tried anything out, so I would assume it was purely discussion. Maybe an option if nothing better presents itself for all parties. One would have to imagine Hampus will have an offer from a Swedish team based on how Fnatic and NiP have played thus far.

huNter facing issues with Valiance

huNter looks to be in between a rock and a hard place with Valiance.

huNter seems to have a few offers but he is in a tough spot with the Valiance organization. Prior to the Katowice Minor he signed a new contract, meaning they were able to place a hefty buyout figure on him.

I’m told Mousesports and FaZe Clan have reached out to Valiance to work out some sort of deal. FaZe being interested shows they may not plan to keep AdreN long term. huNter joining their lineup would be particularly interesting considering he is the cousin of NiKo.

CS:GO

BLAST’s director of operations on maintaining integrity with online CSGO

Published: 24/Nov/2020 15:23 Updated: 24/Nov/2020 15:33

by Adam Fitch

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“This time last year our rulebook and our whole setup were based on LAN events,” BLAST’s director of operations and production Andrew Haworth told Dexerto. “We hadn’t really done a huge amount of work on how that would be replicated in an online world.”

Earlier this year, with the global health situation emerging, governments all around the world were forced to reduce the feasibility of hosting events, and thus, they were moved online — halfway through a tournament, in some cases.

Prior to the restrictions, tournament organizer BLAST managed to host their first big competition of the year in February, impressing many and unknowingly hosting what would be one of the only prominent offline events in the 2020 Counter-Strike calendar. They didn’t have the same privilege later in the year, however, as limitations had yet to be permanently relaxed in many locations. Nonetheless, they went on with their plans to host the BLAST Premier Fall Series, albeit online.

Another layer of absurdity was added as a factor of hosting an event, and that was the revelation of a spectating bug that spanned multiple years. With the Esports Integrity Commission — a body devised to maintain the integrity of competitive gaming — issuing bans to dozens of coaches, integrity questions were more prominent than ever during an online era, no less, where it’s harder to monitor the activity of teams and their coaches.

BLAST Premier Fall Series 1
BLAST
Commentators Scrawny and launders arrived at the production location early to accommodate local restrictions.

Haworth’s background working on major music festivals and the Olympics Games means he’s no stranger to crafting contingency plans to put in place in case of a problem arising. Prior to hosting the Fall Series, they went through sessions of scenario testing with key department leads to devise numerous methods of still getting the job done.

Considering BLAST have deployed everything at their disposal to maintain competitive integrity within their events, Dexerto spoke with Haworth to see how they adapted their processes to move to a remote production while monitoring the gameplay itself both in and out of the server.

Going back to esports’ roots

“We were fairly lucky in the timing of the outbreak, we just finished our Spring Series in February and didn’t have another live event till the end of May,” he said. “Other tournament organizers didn’t and were thrown into that halfway through a show. We had a bit of time, purely by luck, to have a look at what we need to do for our Spring Showdown and our Spring Final.”

While esports, like most other sports, is fundamentally an entertainment product, the need for competitive integrity is essential. Fans tune in to watch the best players in the world face off against each other, and that’s no different during an era of online competition.

“If the fans don’t have faith in what we’re putting on if our broadcasters and sponsors don’t have faith in what we’re putting on, and the teams ultimately lose faith in it, then none of us can stand behind it proudly,” Haworth said. “So competitive integrity is in integral to what we do, none of us are arrogant enough to think that we’re perfect in that.

“There may be things that we’re doing now that we’ll review and determine haven’t worked quite as well or are not effective. Some of the things that we have done we want to ensure, while maintaining competitive integrity at all times, doesn’t affect the performance of play. We don’t want to be taking up computer performance for the matches because that isn’t going to gain the right tone with anybody.”

BLAST Premier Fall Series 2
BLAST
The venue had no players in sight, with only production staff and broadcast talent being present.

With a change in circumstance comes a need to change the parameters in which events are run, and that filters all the way down to the gameplay itself. BLAST saw the need to adapt their guidelines early in the year, when LAN events no longer seemed possible, so all of the teams were on the same page.

“The rulebook gets issued at the start of every season, we generally review it and update it after every event,” Haworth said. “We did less of that last year — I think we only made one or two slight revisions from Spring Series into Spring Showdown because the former was very much for a LAN. We also have our competitive integrity policy, which is broadly drawn out of the rulebook and is a short, sharp summary to articulate to what we do. That’s on our website. We’ve worked with experienced tournament officials that have worked with other tournament organizers and in other settings, it’s important to us that they can see elsewhere what has worked, and equally what hasn’t worked, so we can pick up best practices.”

From bad to worse

All partners of ESIC — including the likes of ESL and DreamHack — vow to enforce rulings decided upon by the commission, and that was no different for BLAST. The spectating exploit utilized by at least 37 coaches rocked the CS:GO community and certainly begged the question as to what tournament organizers are doing to ensure fair play is had at all times.

Moving online adds another layer of difficulty to constantly and accurately monitoring the matches played, especially considering tournament officials can’t be present to see how teams are operating with their own two eyes. BLAST believes they’ve reached the pinnacle of monitoring at this precise moment.

“Some of the measures we put in place aren’t perfect but they’re the best available solution we’ve found so far,” Haworth told Dexerto. “There are methods that we’re developing and evolving. We are confident that the measures we have in place currently are giving the desired result in not allowing anybody to manipulate the system or take advantage of it.

“From a coaching bug point of view, the player cams that we’ve put in place have been a really useful feature. That’s something that we looked at, to start with, as a broadcast feature that had some great context and depth. It grew into something that we now utilize to ensure we can see what players are doing.

“We’ve worked with players on camera angles, we have down-the-line shots, coaches have cameras on them and we listen to TeamSpeak for both a broadcast feature and in terms of integrity,” he continued. “The MOss system is far from perfect but it allows us to know what’s open on someone’s computer, there’s a report sent to us post-match with that information.

Moving forward in the face of adversity

Despite having what they believe is a solid solution to both playing online and safeguarding the integrity of the tournament, it would be understandable if a tournament organizer decided to postpone an event due to the recent exploit revelation and subsequent disciplinary rulings. Haworth ensured Dexerto, however, that that wasn’t an eventuality BLAST considered.

BLAST Spike Nations
BLAST
BLAST have undergone plenty of growth in 2020 so far despite the difficulties, expanding into new titles like Valorant and Dota 2.

“We’ve never really moved our date around. We put our 21 days in the international calendar [that’s shared by all CS:GO tournament organizers] in April this year to try and provide full transparency,” he said. “We worked on this straight after the Spring Final, there were a couple of bits that we thought we could include like the coach cams but there were also a couple of things that weren’t ready for the Fall Series. We played around with them but wasn’t sure if it would cause performance issues on players’ PCs so we didn’t want to risk it.”

There’s not the only difficulty in providing a fair and stable environment for the players, BLAST have plenty of staff that are needed to execute a full production. Having staff at home using personal internet lines isn’t the most confidence-inducing prospect, but the company has managed to execute a means of working that allows for maximum efficiency given the circumstances.

While online play, and the copious amount of events that are taking place, may not be ideal, esports has proven to be resilient in the face of extreme and unpredictable challenge. The Fall Series was revered by industry professionals and Counter-Strike fans alike, but it’s clear that BLAST are not resting on their laurels leading up to the next phase of the competition.