*by Dustin Steiner
One of the biggest complaints from professional players in CS:GO has long been the interference of crowd noise at live events. This has led to players lobbying ESL and other tournament organizers (presumably through the CSPPA) to work towards a solution. Today, ESL announced the first steps in that process in an initiative they’re calling “audience etiquette.” They are likening it to how traditional sports like Tennis, Golf, and Snooker are viewed.
"The presence of a live audience changes the way the game gets played," ESL's Michal "Carmac" Blicharz said on Reddit. "There’s no going back from it. It’s not the same game as you or I could play at home and it’s not supposed to be. Players finding information out from fans also isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, though.
However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s introduce etiquette instead. In golf, snooker and in tennis crowds know how to behave, when to cheer and not to cheer."
ESL considers cheering before key plays like a knife kill, cheering during discipline moments, and cheering for things the player shouldn't be able to see as "bad form," and will be looking to lightly chastise and even eventually punish audiences for doing so. This could even lead to some people getting ejected if they can't "be polite,” or even ESL turning off in venue x-rays so the crowd will be forced to have less of an impact.
This is largely being done because ESL wants to avoid using player booths, as they feel it lessens the experience for pro players and fans alike. “We want players to feel what Lionel Messi feels when he scores a goal and booths are counter to that,” Carmac continued. “We want to work with audiences to establish an etiquette of when to cheer and when to remain silent.”
While audiences in the arena could be affected by bad actors, stream viewers at home will ultimately be saved from these measures, beyond the crowd not getting hype during key moments.
The community has largely taken these changes well, with a Reddit thread currently sitting at 97% upvotes and many in the comments saying ESL are on the right track.
ESL stated that this is a work in progress, but should help to alleviate some of the more egregious issues in fan participation, and warning players before they should know information. IEM Katowice will kick off Monday, February 24 as Astralis takes on Cloud9 in the Group Stage.