Counter Strike Global Offensive Viewer Guide

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Viewer Guide

How do I watch Counter Strike?

First Person Shooters have always been fairly easy to watch. Counter Strike: Global Offensive can be easy to watch even for somebody who has never played the game but there can still be some things that confuse people as well some things that should be explained. The objectives of the game are simple and they emulate some of the things that take place in other media sources like films and television shows. Guns, fighting, war, and one side wins. That being said there are a couple of things to look out for to make following along the Esport. There are a few visual aids to look out for as well.

What is all that on the stream?

More stat based than relative information based. Understanding what not to get distracted by and what to look at when you need to understand something better is important when watching CSGO because all the fun stuff is happening in the game.

The top of the screen shows which teams are playing, the round score and how much time is left in the current round. After the bomb has been planted the timer turns into a little red bomb symbol as the round time is extended for the duration of the bomb.

The top left of the screen hosts the minimap which, when you know the Maps, isn’t the most useful tool but if you want to see the current positions of each player in the game you can see what is being watched and what isn’t. One of the reasons this can be seen as obsolete, is because of the colored player outlines that the Observer mode allows which shows the outlines over every player in the screen behind however many walls or floors they are relative to the current player’s point of view.

On the Left and Right side of the screen are the players on either team and . Here is the most valuable information out of all of the visual aids. The tan/gold color represents the players on T side while the blue color is the players on CT side. The full bar represents their relative Hit Points and when those reach zero the players card is blacked out with a little skull symbol.  There is a lot of information here even though it may not look like it. You can see a player’s economy which is what they use to buy their equipment, a higher economy means more equipment which increases a team’s odds of winning a round.

There are Kill icons as well that sit inside the overall HP of a player that shows you how many kills they have gotten that round. If you can’t easily remember who’s fragging out this is useful for retaining that information.

Finally, these bars show what equipment each player has. You can easily tell how a round should p[lay out based on how much equipment each team has. If you are unfamiliar with how the individual guns and equipment matchup, remember that the bigger the gun the better it relatively is. I say relatively because individual player skill and circumstance always factor into gun fights which can make a seemingly one sided round swing the other way.

The bottom center of the screen shows whichever player is being Observed. It shows their kills, player cam, their name, their health and armor, ammo, and stats. This isn’t especially important but is still quality information for anyone wondering about specific stats.

The Visual aids are all nice and intuitive, but the real thing you’re here to watch is the action itself. Don’t get too caught up in the aids as the main event will be able to show you everything the aids do.

What are Casters and Analysts?

When it comes to watching CSGO it is often best to watch the game and let the Casters guide you through the action. They ultimately tell you when to be hype and when something strange happens and as you watch you will learn quite a lot from them. All of the CSGO Casters have been around for awhile and have been through many different eras of the game, with that in mind it can be safe to assume that most of what they say is true, but when they are casting the play by play everything they say is directly the same thing you’re watching, they’re just putting it into words and those words are what make watching the casts great.

The whole point of Casters and Analysts is to allow another avenue for not only entertainment but understanding, take their Cast to heart and you’ll pick up on things very easily.Casters often have a lot of downtown during a tournament and use it to highlight other parts of a game or go more in depth where it is possible, the downtime is worth listening to however as it can be more informative that what they are capable of explaining during the game.

What are some of the terms I may not understand?

Sometimes words we hear on Casts are new to us because we haven’t watched the Esport scene before and can get a little confused when listening to Casters talk about something specific. For people who have never played the game there are a few words you might like to know going into a stream beforehand.

  • Frag is often used as a substitute for kill, it is a less violent way to explain it and Casters will switch back and forth between the two based on their casting style. More recently Casters will mention where a player got shot and killed to reference their death.
  • Molly- Molotov cocktails are an equipment in the game and most Casters find that saying Molotov Cocktail throws the Cast off balance a little bit.
  • Casters will often refer to as an area by it’s in game “Callout” if you ever hear something along the lines of “Heaven” “Hell” “Catwalk” “Stairs” “Long” or “Checkers” they are referring to a specific place on the map. There are many different in game callouts for all of the maps so I can’t really explain all of them, but they are something you tend to just memorize after awhile.
  • Eco rounds or Save rounds refer to rounds where one team chooses or is forced to not buy items in order to save up money for the future rounds. Reversely “Gun rounds” or “Buy rounds” refer to rounds where both teams buyout and the round is relatively equal as far as equipment and gear go.
  • Wallbang is a common word in FPS that refer generally to any kill that somebody gets through a barrier.
  • One-way smokes are fewer in number as CSGO gets more updates but some are still around, they are a sort of abusable aspect of Smoke Grenades being more see through up close and players being able to throw them in a spot and peak out over the top or sides and kill an enemy. For the most part, this isn’t very common but occasionally you will hear it mentioned.
  • A term that is always surrounded by some emphasis is “Ace” which is when one player on a team kills all the others on the other team.
  • “Clutch” is a term Casters used when a player that is at a disadvantage in a round comes back and wins the round for his team. This can be when he’s in a 3v1 on site and gets the 3k while his other teammate is still rotating to help him. Or it can be said when a player is defending a planted bomb and is able to stall out the CT side from being able to defuse. There are a few different scenarios that could be called “Clutch” but some are way more hype than others.
  • Peeking refers to a quick movement from a player in a corner or doorway that they either do to hopefully bait out an AWP shot or get a better idea of the positioning of enemy players in the area. 

There are many variations of the peek that are either given their names by the part of their body that shows in the peek or the speed of the peek.

Body part peeks are known as elbow peek, shoulder peek and body peek.These peeks are used to bait out the enemy team into shooting at you thinking your going to run past their crosshairs. This will give you their position and cause a small rotational disadvantage where the enemy team needs to either move to conceal their position or bring another teammate to watch the same spot. This leaves an opening for your own teammates to rotate accordingly giving you a better chance to gain a numbers advantage.

Speed peeks have a similar goal in mind but also have a secondary goal depending on the speed. Jiggle peeking attempts to bait multiple shots with the idea of breaking into an area or across a fire lane safely. Slow peeking is done normally with some utility cover so that when the peeker gets to a specific area they can take their shot instead of getting shot at. Fast peeking tends to be riskier than all the other peeks with the  goal in mind being “I can beat him” you take the 50/50 shot which is more likely a 30/70 as they already know where you’re going to come from but you have no idea where they are watching from.

Lingo is not the most important thing in CSGO to pay attention to but if you are finding yourself lost in some of the verbage used by Casters I hope this helped a little bit. Otherwise I hope this information helped you follow along with everything else easier.

What’s going on when there is no active match?

As there is in any professional game being played there are times where the game isn’t being played. At this point there are many different things that happen in CSGO as compared to other Esports. The Casters are tasked with filling the time and conversing about pretty much anything but usually all things related to the current match or teams playing. These down times are a great time to fill up your drink or grab a bite to eat. It is a pause in all the action and can be a nice break from your computer screen. Sometimes though it should be noted that Analysts get their turn to break down the previous match or a player interview is coming up to give some more insight into the mind of a player. 

All of these things are more so hit or miss with usefulness but they are also inevitable as technology fails us and human error occurs whether we mean for it to or not, so take it as it comes and just enjoy the moment while it’s there, it may make a highlight reel some day.

This is also a great time to learn a little bit more about the pro scene. Casters will discuss goings on in the scene and how players are going to be impacted by a recent patch or what future matchups will look like. The information given during these breaks can help anyone understand the next match they decide to watch in the future.

Sometimes little visual aids were prepared for the down time and gives the Casters or Analysts something to talk about while also providing you with some easy reading material as well. The most common graphics are Map scores or in a tournament they will show a list of the participating team’s standings.  Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t anything truly informational but these moments are usually what brings out some of the most entertaining things we hear from Casters outside of the game. A lot of Casters have a calling card of phrases they are known for as they often repeat them. These can be fun for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes the out of game shots just so a shot or a few shots of one or both of the teams currently playing. Sometimes you can see emotional moments for a player or squad and sometimes it’s just neat to see their interactions or get a closer look at their keyboard and mouse setup. Some players are drastically different than the rest of their team and the implications can put some things into perspective.

So what’s going on when the Match is being played?

One thing I haven’t really talked about is the actual gameplay. Most of the time the Observers are locked into the Players’ POVs throughout a match. This is where all the action takes place and what sets up the viewers for taking in every moment of a match. Following along is usually easy but if you aren’t familiar with this style of watching an Esport it can be quick to give you a headache.

Unless the player is the last alive for a team the Observer will cut rather quickly between points of interest a player is currently in. Expecting these quick cuts will make it easier to anticipate and appreciate what you’re going to see. Thanks to the Observer mode there are a few things we can see that the players can’t, such as the outlines of players mentioned earlier, as well as various ways grenades bounce on the other side of a building. We can also see a rising red filling of the outline when players are hit with bullets so we can see how close they are to death.

This puts gunfights into a different perspective, we have imagery to tell us the story while the players generally only have a number idea of how much health an enemy may or may not have. Occasionally we will get a birds eye view or third person point of view if a gunfight is between multiple players on either team and we can see a line of sight laser in the color of the respective players’ team to help us follow along with who sees who and who is fighting who.

These moments admittedly don’t happen often and may take some time getting used to initially, but it is a great way to watch the games from time to time to put distance and field of view into a better perspective for those of us watching. Following along with the movements of all the players in the game will help see the set up scenarios that ultimately result in the end of a round. Watching the movements that take place makes some things easier to anticipate and know what the possible next happenings are.

Where do I go from here?

As FPS games are among the easiest to watch and understand, this guide is a little shorter. CSGO has a lot of longevity that comes with FPS style games as well so long term fandoms can be created from just one tournament. The adrenaline rush one can get from the matches is insane and feels great, if you find an interest watching the game never be afraid to try playing it yourself, we have guides for that too!


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Cameron Carr

7 November 2019

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