Ropz interview: The true impact of CSGO’s online era on mousesports - Dexerto

Ropz interview: The true impact of CSGO’s online era on mousesports

Published: 23/Sep/2020 15:50

by Andy Williams


Robin ‘ropz’ Kool exploded onto Counter-Strike’s professional scene in 2017 as a rookie for mousesports and hasn’t looked back. We spoke with the Estonian to delve into how the ‘online era’ has affected the squad.

It’s no secret that the online era of CS:GO has had a devastating impact on mousesports’ run of form. Before we entered into a world without offline events, mousesports were cruising in second in the world rankings, bested only by the tour de force that is Astralis.


But mere weeks into the online format, and Ropz and co. began to drop from Astralis’ shadow, before eventually hitting a low of 22nd in August 2020, after a string of underwhelming results.But with Finn ‘Karrigan’ Andersen at the helm, the squad are looking to turn the poor form around.

Most recently, they acquired the talents of rising star, Aurimas ‘Bymas’ Pipiras from FaZe Clan — who has shown great promise in FPL and during his short stint with FaZe. We spoke with Ropz to see how the perfect balance of experience and talent will help the European outfit turn things around.

Mousesports winning ESL Pro League: Season 10.
Mousesports went into the ESL Pro League S10 final as underdogs, but saw off a resurgent Fnatic in a thrilling Grand Final.

Ropz: “It got difficult for us to keep our spirits up…”

Q: The online era has been a tricky one for mousesports after such a strong end to last season’s LAN circuit. How do you plan on bouncing back?

“In competition, there are always ups and downs. But I agree the last few months were not up to our standards. We now have a little bit of a fresh start with Bymas and will put in the hours to make it work again.”

Q: What has been the hardest thing about adjusting to the online CSGO era for your team?


“We always had a great atmosphere at live events, so after a while it got difficult for us to keep our spirits up when everyone was playing from home. We always had the ability to turn around games or gain new momentum mid-way through a map — I think that is way harder when you are not at a LAN event.”

Q: As you mentioned, you’ve recently replaced w0xic with Bymas on the starting lineup. What does he bring to the roster, and can you see any similarities to your early career when you burst onto the scene in the FPL?

“Bymas accepts his role in the team. He really wants to learn and is eager to improve. He definitely has all the tools, but needs some time to adapt. Of course, there are some similarities between us — we are both from the Baltics, started our careers in FPL and then joined mousesports.”

w0xic competing in CSGO.
Replacing w0xic with Bymas was a move frowned up by plenty.

Q: You had to fill Niko’s shoes when you joined. How much pressure was that and how do you think your role has evolved over time?

“I never thought about filling Niko’s shoes — it was more about showing my worth since I had no background or history. The team also swapped roles around back then and I got my own start, so it was not 1:1 with Niko.


“But pressure was there for the other reason mentioned, I put in as much hours as possible to get the best out of it. Over time, I’ve learned a lot and I believe my game sense has become world-class. I have become more vocal about stuff in-game and people believe in me, because they know what I say is going to work.”

Q: You were named the tenth best player in the world in 2019 by HLTV, how did that feel? Do you think that was deserved?

“Feels good, of course, to be considered Top 10 in the world. The ranking is solely based on measurable numbers, says HLTV, so I guess there is no “deserving” — just earning.”

Q: Okay, some quick-fire questions… What is the highlight of your career so far?

“Feels like the MVP at ESL Pro League: Season 10. It was a special event altogether and maybe a breakthrough for the team.”

Q: Which tournament victory has been your favorite and why?

“Our victory at ESL One New York. My whole family was there to watch it. That definitely meant a lot to me.”

Q: Which tournament or match do you think has been your own individual best performance?

“I think it was at CS_Summit5. I was unstoppable there.”

Q: Who do you believe will be the teams and players to watch when we get back on LAN?

“I surely hope it’s going to be us!”

After bringing on Bymas into the starting five, mousesports will be looking to regain their form from the backend of 2019, which saw them soar to second in the world rankings. Recent results in the ESL Pro League: Season 12 look promising, but only time will tell if they can claw their way back into contention with CS:GO’s top dogs.


missharvey column: Valve, here’s what CSGO needs to be great (Part 2)

Published: 8/Oct/2020 13:42 Updated: 8/Oct/2020 17:12

by missharvey


After a storied career in Counter-Strike as a player, Stephanie ‘missharvey’ Harvey is issuing a call to arms for the CS:GO developers to act and help the game. After exploring the issues in Part 1, here’s what Valve needs to do before it’s too late.

In my last piece, I outlined a plethora of issues which I believe are the root of CS:GO’s drastic loss of momentum. While there’s no doubt that the statistics paint a positive picture for Counter-Strike, the grass is greener where you water it. Valve has neglected their community to the point where many are considering whether Valorant — a tactical shooter still very much in its infancy — will be the killer of CS:GO.

Viper in Valorant
Riot Games
Riot has built their tactical shooter with competitive integrity at the forefront of their priorities, but community feedback has been essential.

Let’s get CS:GO’s community back on board

As you may have noticed, the Counter-Strike community has a fond place in my heart. That’s no secret.— the CS:GO community is like no other, they’re loyal, extremely passionate about their game, and dedicated to making it an awesome experience for pros and beginners alike. And this is where Valve needs to start: everything needs to revolve around the community. 

So what can the devs do? Well, for starters, there needs to be a better global link between the player logging into Steam to play CS:GO and what the developers have in the pipeline. Easiest way to achieve this? Roadmaps. Planning the route ahead and sharing their goals with the players could be done on a bi-monthly basis, or from Operation to Operation. Either way, it would provide a level or transparency that Valve is yet to show. That way, if a player wants to know when to expect the next rotation of maps or hotfixes, they can do so by just consulting a roadmap that is frequently updated by the devs in-game. 


From a content standpoint, Operations are a gimmick. There is no season-based Battlepass system (which seems to be the modern way) and it feels like Valve are being left behind in an era where content can make or break player drop off rates. Other than love for the game, I feel like Valve are giving players no reason to continue their grind. Compare this with the likes of Valorant and Call of Duty, where players have always got a reason to grind — be it Riot’s Act-based Battlepass, or Activision’s Season-based system.

Warzone Battle pass
Infinity Ward
Incentivizing the grind beyond gameplay is key to player retention in the long-run, and can even help build character lore in the game!

And there’s so much more that can be done. A large majority of the community aspire to play like professional players. Instead of relying on third-party websites, why not embed features like player configs directly into CS:GO? This could be as simple as linking it to a verified Steam profile associated with a pro. You could even take this a step further than just downloading the whole config — why not show the user what’s being changed and give them the option to swap specific elements out? So, in practice, a player could take NiKo’s crosshair, juliano’s sensitivity and kennyS’ viewmodel. Again, food for thought, but this is just scratching the surface. Steam already has a profile system in place, and it’s begging to be more relevant than just a vanity item.

Valve: Are you in or out?

I think it’s fair to say, we need more of a ‘buy-in’ from Valve — and by that, I don’t mean a measly half-buy… I mean an all-out M249 full-buy with a Zeus sprinkled on top. Using content to drive interest in a game is just the tip of the iceberg. There are fundamental issues that need resolving. Aside from being on the ball with things like bug fixes and more frequent patches, why not make the playing experience even smoother and make 64-tick servers a thing of the past?


For those who haven’t dabbled with 128-tick servers, let me give you an example of how it feels. Imagine taking a shot at an enemy who is jiggle-peeking around a wall and connecting the bullets you fire. As opposed to seemingly getting killed from behind said wall… Honestly, the difference is night and day. The best part – there are community-run servers that offer a 128-tick rate as standard. 

In this one example, we have a problem and tons and tons of possible solutions. Let’s assume Valve doesn’t want to overhaul their server structure (which they should do), what else could they do? Reach out to third parties and embed their structure into your game? Give players the choice to play on 128-tick for a small monthly fee (while possibly reducing the amount of cheaters in that matchmaking category)? Slowly implement 128-tick to higher ranks and prime players and test out the outcome? As you read this, I am sure you are coming up with other ideas, and in my opinion, this is one of the things Valve should have been working on for years now. But even if they had been, the community is none the wiser!

64 tick servers in CSGO
If an enemy came around the corner here on 64-tick, they would have ‘peeker’s advantage’ and would stand a better chance of killing you.

Esports is thriving, now is the time to act!

The interest in CS:GO from an esport perspective has never been greater. More hours are being streamed on Twitch than ever before, and as a result, viewership metrics are higher from month-to-month. With so many tournament organizers wanting their slice of the CS:GO pie — despite being riddled with the logistical nightmare that is presented with online play — it’s obvious that Valve could be capitalizing on a huge demographic here.


Imagine a pro player’s Steam profile was their hub. Links to all their social profiles with the ability to subscribe to them. An entry level of subscription might issue fans with access to their demos, configs and notifications when they’re online and scrimming. An additional level might include access to exclusive content and the ability to exclusively watch your favorite pro’s point-of-view during a Major, with access to their comms during select portions of the match. Imagine Patreon, but for Counter-Strike.

Steam profile
There is so much that can be done to bridge the gap between Steam profiles and CS:GO.

By no means am I saying that all of the above will fix everything — there’s so much more that can be done. There’s a gold mine of content with custom servers that could so easily be embedded into the game. Again, look at Valorant’s Spike Rush. The community asked for a faster-paced game mode, and Riot answered. We have FFA Deathmatch modes, retake simulators, warmup arenas, movement (surfing) servers… The list goes on. Valve could easily take the community’s input here and really push CS:GO forward in a positive direction. So what’s the takeaway message?


Community first. As you can probably tell if you’ve got this far, I’m a firm believer in Counter-Strike’s loyal fanbase. The fact of the matter is, that everyone below tier-one pros are starving, and as it stands, there is no ecosystem to support these players — be it tier-two pros, aspiring pros or the casual gamer. So c’mon, Valve, the ball is in your court.