Valve just dropped a big Counter-Strike update with some good stuff (snazzy new knife finishes, an extension to Operation Wildfire), some experiments (CSGO Prime accounts now require lieutenant rank 21 in addition to a phone number), and some questionable decisions.

The big point of contention in the new Counter-Strike update is a single weapon sound. The update gives beefier, higher fidelity sounds to the Mag7, M249, and Negev, but it also adds a new low-ammo noise to every gun. The mechanic triggers a sort of ticking sound on each of your shots when your clip is close to empty, and it’s audible to both you and your enemies. Here’s a video of it, courtesy of LzZ*:

The problem, as many players see it, is that the noise takes an element of skill away from the game. Previously, you had to pay close attention to your enemies’ clip size and weapon usage—to try and strike when they were spent. Now the game kinda does that for you.

This has led to the revival of an increasingly common line of questioning: why doesn’t Valve put stuff like this on public test servers before pushing it to the main game? It’s a good question, one that has been, as per usual when dealing with Valve, met with their special brand of Deafening Silence (TM).

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However, while the question is pretty much always valid, I’m of the opinion that people are overreacting a bit when it comes to this new low ammo sound. YouTuber Dinoswarleaf ran some tests on the sound and its general performance during matches. He found that, among other things, it’s almost impossible to hear unless you’re very, very close to somebody. And at that point, you’re probably not counting bullets and waiting to peek anymore.

What we have, then, is a sound that helps new players learn to pay close attention to their clips. Sure, I imagine it will impact the odd encounter here and there, but I doubt it will change players’ overall approach to peeking, pushing, and whatnot.

Still, I can’t help but feel like this whole rage explosion could’ve been preemptively defused by better communication of intent and beta versions of updates that alter gameplay. In the wake of rollbacks of controversial changes to pistols and rifles last December, Valve confessed that they needed to re-evaluate their approach to making and communicating big Counter-Strike changes. Maybe they were only referring to those specific weapons or mechanics, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that not a lot has changed. I’m having a hard time staying optimistic.

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