Long ago, on servers that are now closed, there lived the legacy of MR12 in competitive Counter-Strike. In fact, it was the OG format for the duelistsway back when. With the progression of economy changes, structural changes and changes to other phenomenon related to Counter-Strike, mostly in CSGO, MR15 became a much more suitable format and MR12 was sent to the pits of anonymity; or to an indefinite Gulag.
But, recently, CSGO experts have started to voice their opinion on a potential opportunity to bring back the MR12 concept at least for trial, if not permanently. HenryG was one of few who were vocal about the concept.
Alas! Gamers without Borders announced a 2 Million USD prizepool for their first tryst with CSGO after a successful adventure in Dota2 during this seemingly never-ending lockdown period. Apart from the magnanimous prizepool, the benefitting factor to society in general and the quality of teams on display, what stood out was the format – a Bo3 series throughout the tournament with MR12 adopted for maps, with a Bo5 for the Grand Finals.
This might answer how the MR12 will suit the current strata of CSGO and the players’ reaction to the format, which is perhaps, one of the greatest thorns when it comes to changes to competitive formats that could change the landscape of how some rounds are played out on the server. We try to see the nagging points around the MR12 concept and whether it can be a viable format.
The Pistol Round Dependency
Now, one of the major reasons behind the MR12 format being shelved was the importance of pistol rounds. Due to the economic structure in the past, a pistol round win would guarantee 3 rounds more times than not. This, combined with a win on the first complete buy round for the losing side, would mean a 5-0 lead on either half, which would be an advantage that is hard to overturn, especially in the MR12 format.
To put it statistically, a team should win 6 rounds if they won both pistol rounds, which would make for nearly half of the rounds required to register a win on the map as per the MR12 format. MR15 allowed more room for comeback and a greater level of competition on the server.
However, after the recent changes to the economy, games have become stretched, with close scorelines par for the course rather than being an abnormality. Also, it has reduced the pistol dependency from 3 rounds to 2 rounds effectively.
The importance of pistol rounds has reduced so much in the current meta that it is now merely treated as a standalone round rather than one that requires additional attention. Bringing back the MR12 now would restore a fraction of the influence pistol rounds used to have on the ultimate result without it being as excessive as it was during the Grand Ol’ days of Counter Strike.
The Time Conundrum
MR15 is also starting to take a toll on players. Owing to the level of competition, Bo3s have become the go-to format and the stark rise in number of events participated causes burnout, which has already being voiced by the CSPPA and top players in CSGO.
Take for example, the Qualifiers. Teams have to sometimes play through 2-3 Qualifiers at one time and the length of each match takes a toll on players. Even casual players begin to notice a difference after an awfully extended exposure to the game. Imagine that combined with the pressure of performing as a professional athlete. Granted, they are professionals and need to adapt to this.
Although, it is easier said than done. Burnout is a real issue and has been highlighted by many pros during the lockdown period, with the likes of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer, Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Hojsleth and Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander already announcing their respective temporary breaks owing to the same.
It is about time the players also get some respite, especially considering the changes to the economy has increased the length of each map, with a Bo3 now averaging a significantly greater time than before.
The Entertainment and Competition Value
You stretch any good thing to extensive lengths of time and it automatically becomes monotonous and boring for viewers. The entertainment value of anything is captured by how long the produced form of entertainment can hook a single viewer to the screen. The longer it goes on, the less interested the viewer is bound to be.
Lockdown might have given people ample time to view the great matches. But, often, it so happens that viewers are deterred by the long hours of the game, especially when other popular esports disciplines either have a shorter completion time or have made a conscious effort to make it so.
Take the examples of games to emerge in the Battle Royale genre. All of them have a shorter completion time (except maybe COD:WARZONE), provided you are competing till the end. Then, there’s Dota 2, which, although known for its never-ending games have constantly made meta changes to facilitate a quicker resolution. Even Valorant has the MR12 format and people have taken kindly to it.
MR12 ensures all that without compromising the quality of competition since – and I feel like a broken record at this point – it is now viable thanks to the current economy structure in CSGO.
All in all, MR12 seems like one of the many steps needed to make CSGO more viable, given the entry of a rival in Valorant; even though it’s still early days. It will ensure a decrease in likeliness of players feeling burnout issues; perhaps not in the long duration but when playing more than one game in a day.
The entertainment factor though, might be one that makes it worth considering, with new and casual viewers now having an alternative in Valorant. Gamers without Borders will serve as a welcome experiment for the viability of the MR12 format.
The reaction of pundits, players and viewers to the event, which has already started, will tell us whether MR12 in CSGO is able to come back victorious from the Gulag.