GameNation SA – Leveling up South African CS:GO

11 June 2018

South Africa is an island in esports terms. We are isolated from the rest of the world. It turns out that geography can be a real source of annoyance, even outside of high school. This means that in most games requiring fast reaction times and pinpoint accuracy, SA players are going to suffer with high ping and lag problems. The sheer distance and the volumes of ocean and landmass between ourselves and the overseas community precludes us from competing on an even footing. That and the relatively inefficiently routed international access cables. The SA communities in all esports barring MOBAs tend to have to develop alone, with little foreign influence.

CS: Stay

In any insular and isolated esports scene like ours, it’s always going to be tough to figure out how good local teams are versus their international counterparts. Aside from the occasional trans-continental tournament attendance, we seldom get to see how our teams stack up. In CS:GO, it’s often been in the ESWC events in France that SA teams have gotten the opportunity to qualify for through Orena in previous years. There’s also been the sole attendance by Bravado last January to the Mountain Dew LAN and some WESG appearances. Unfortunately, aside from the occasional decent result, it’s mostly been a disappointment for SA teams when facing international opposition.

Does the relative lack of success mean our teams are bad? Is South Africa just not a good CS: GO-playing nation? Not at all. As I rather strongly alluded to above, geographical isolation means our teams don’t get to face international opponents as much as they really need to for proper development. Think about it. If you only ever face a small handful of teams that can challenge you and then still mostly destroy them, how often are you really stretched? Just as exercise requires some pain and tearing of muscle to build those very muscles, tangible improvement in CS:GO often results from regularly facing opposition that lays the hurt on you. Staying within SA has not helped our best local teams show as much development and improvement in terms of their overall level in the last two years as we may have liked. By that I mean in relative terms compared to the international scene. It’s part of what enabled Energy eSports to leapfrog Bravado last year.

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