Changes to the Desert Eagle have made it a broken weapon. Is it ruining the game or causing an abundance of fun within Counter Strike?

19:00, 25 Apr 2020

I’m going to start this article talking about League of Legends - bear with me, it is relevant.

The primary method of balancing champions in that game is win rate. If a champion wins more than it loses, it’s probably overpowered compared to the champions who lose more. Seems pretty simple.

However, there are champions in the game, like Ryze. Ryze is a champion who in solo queue, in lower ELO games, is pretty much useless. He had anywhere between 40-48% win rate, and yet, he was almost 100% presence in pro play. The blue mage was known for having an intensely high skill ceiling, and despite being almost worthless to the average player, in the hands of a professional gamer, could murder entire teams.

See where I’m going with this?

Many long time CSGO players are resistant to the idea that the Desert Eagle is broken, but if we’re being honest, it is. The same arguments for Ryze being okay were used for the Deagle - oh, it requires a lot of skill! Yes, it does. But a skill requirement does not disqualify something from being overpowered or broken - in fact, in competitive games, it’s more of a prerequisite.

The Deagle is obscenely versatile, and a one-shot kill weapon for $700 is, for my money, inherently broken. You do have to aim at the head, but at a level where raw aim is less of a variable, the Desert Eagle becomes exponentially better. The power of the weapon goes up and up, and as CSGO is a game where skill is theoretically infinite, the Desert Eagle for less than $1000, is ridiculous.

Why, for $700, should you be able to kill as fast as any other gun?

Well, because it’s fun.

Watching a Deagle round is one of the most interesting things in Counter-Strike. Watching the best players in the world using a gun with an insane skill ceiling is a large part of the reason most of us enjoy watching other people playing games. 

The Deagle isn’t as powerful as the AK47, or the AWP, but its theoretical power is as powerful. Seeing players infinitely better than us trying to reach - and sometimes reaching - a skill ceiling we can only dream of is fantastic. And anyway, if anti-eco rounds are a given, the game becomes a lot less interesting. Why would you want to sit through a round that is already decided?

We all buy the Deagle in our games in a vague attempt to look competent, to try to replicate our favourite clips. Because the gun is fun, and the fact that it’s broken is actually sort of good for the game. 

Where it crosses the line, is that the Desert Eagle time to kill without a headshot is way too low. The two-hit body shot kill, with fire rate only locked behind how itchy your trigger finger is, ruins the image of a high-skill, high-reward gun. Anyone can spam their left-click and two-shot people; it happens at pro level too.

When you can use a high-skill gun without aiming at the head, it becomes too versatile and too easy to use. The whole reason the Desert Eagle is good for the game is the threat, the dream of that insane five-bullet five kills clip that we all theoretically could do - is blighted by the skill floor of the body-shot time to kill.

How do we fix this? Keep the Desert Eagle’s ridiculous power but make it more reliant on skill, make the damage to the body not be an obscene 65 maximum. A non-headshot from the Deagle should not be more than 50 damage - maybe it can be a 100 in 2 at point-blank range, but that’s it. 

This keeps the gun a high-skill, high reward weapon, but adds some risk to it. For $700, there’s almost no reason not to buy one, because the risk isn’t there - so we either have to double the price (and nobody wants that), or just make the skill floor a little bit lower.

The hand cannon has to be balanced around the top level of play, in the same way, the SG and the AWP a few years ago were - and I think this is the most elegant solution to it being the best value weapon on the game.

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