May 30th, 6:22pm America/New_York

Are Molotovs Overpowered?

Brett "Few" ESEA on Thu, 10/18/2012 11:24AM
Written by Josh "steel" Nissan

In the long anticipated arrival of CS:GO, we have seen the inclusion of many new "features" into the game. Some of these features were desperately needed, others not so much. Included in the newest features were the creation of two new grenades, the molotov/incendiary and the decoy. But what do these grenades do for competitive play? Are they good or bad? Should we welcome these additions?

I think the molotov grenades should be disabled from competitive play for several reasons. The current competitive rule set of 15 round halves, 1 minute 45 second round time, and the money system have all been refined over several years to be a
The radius of one moltov
standard in competitive Counter-Strike for over half a decade (hold for CGS which had a plethora of issues itself). Basically, no matter how you want to argue that it is simply a change in meta game or whatever other debate you want to stir up, in order to include such a drastic game-changing element into competitive play, you must first have a total overhaul in the current standardized league settings. The molotov would not only require these changes to bring balance to the game, but this change was not brought in with competitive play in mind. The molotov grenade was added by the developers to be a fun new addition to the game to attract new gamers and "spice it up".

To balance the molotov grenade without addressing any league settings, the damage output needs to be lower or the slow effect needs to be removed. It is too powerful in its current state where it damages AND slows in an area of effect. The molotov can single-handedly thwart an aggressive attack from the Terrorist team, or can remove a Counter-Terrorist from controlling an area for close to 10 seconds. Now, before people start arguing that a smoke grenade or flashbang have a similar effect at a fraction of the cost, they need to understand that a player can turn from a flashbang to avoid it, or still listen for footsteps. A smoke grenade can be abused, peeked over, pushed through etc. Enjoy avoiding a spread of flame across the floor that is both visually and audibly distracting. Seriously, try it.

With the molotov, Counter-Terrorists have a fail-safe way of stopping a rush tactic from the Terrorists on every map. Think about de_nuke where you have an upper rush, or de_dust2 where you have a catwalk rush or de_inferno where you have a
A CT can eliminate a B SPAWN advantage for Ts with ease
B rush or apartment/middle rush. A single molotov can stop an entire team from attacking the bombsite which gives the Counter-Terrorists enough time to set up in their spots and prepare for a delayed execution. The reason why rush tactics are so powerful is because working off of spawns, timings and brute force. An entire Terrorist team can bust through the Counter-Terrorists defense before they have time to be set up in proper positions. A Counter-Terrorist who is sitting on the rafters above hut on de_nuke is going to be much more of a threat to Terrorists than a Counter-Terrorist who is still running across in the open until he gets to his spot. The same thing applies for Counter-Terrorists who are playing on de_dust2 at A bombsite, or even B bombsite; if a Terrorist team rushes fast cat through speedway/darkspot, then a single molotov can hold off the attack until the Counter-Terrorists get set up. Over at the B bombsite, a player can throw a molotov which will buy a player enough time to get to the back of the platform behind the headshot box where he is completely safe from flashbangs.

The defensive team will almost always have the advantage of the molotov, unless the bomb is planted. Sure, a terrorist can
The smoke covers you
throw it into a spot to "smoke out" a Counter-Terrorist to make for easy pickings, but it won't always work. The bombsite is big enough that if you don't throw it perfect, you've wasted your money. On de_mirage a T quickly rush short B and help prevent fast rotates by throwing a molotov into the window or the connector, but its not a surefire security blanket. With the update that makes molotovs explode in midair, any offensive advantage that molotov's had was virtually erased. The hefty investment for a small chance at actually being able to be used
The fire makes it easy
effectively makes it one of the most useless items available to the Terrorists. The terrorist instead must rely on the newest addition, the decoy grenade. While it sounds like it could be a trade-off, the decoy grenade doesn't do damage, and it really doesn't distract anyone, especially if you can see it. The blatant advantage for the Counter-Terrorist team is enough reason to remove it, let alone all other aspects.

If a team picks up enough momentum, they can easily secure themselves the rest of the half just because of this powerful grenade. A team that is down on rounds loses the capacity to run faster strats or even fake strats with the molotov in the game. If a CT team plays 4 players A, a single player can hold off the Terrorist from falling back and hitting B by using one molotov which can buy his teammates ~10 seconds to rotate back to the B bombsite. This makes the game less skill-based and way more momentum based, spiraling off of the initial pistol and following eco rounds. In a team-based skill oriented FPS like Counter-Strike, all elements of luck should be reduced as much as possible; both teams should be on an equal playing field every "weapon round".

When you look at a game like DOTA2 or HoN, you can see how much of an effect one player can make on the game if they get far enough ahead on level or farm. CS:GO isn't an ARTS game - it is a team based FPS. Changes that reduce skill and increase randomness and accelerated momentum without being thoroughly balanced and changed over time threaten the potential of both the game and competitors severely. For these reasons, molotovs in its current state should not be included in any events until it has been properly balanced.
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