The latest update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive includes the first in a series of planned improvements to the game’s audio. The Negev, M249, and Mag7 have all had their sound effects punched up, and the smoke grenade sound has been changed to make it more distinct as well. But there’s also an entirely new effect that’s been added, a ratcheting sound signaling that the current magazine is just about empty. And that, according to Kotaku, has made some hardcore players awfully unhappy.
The complaints arise from the fact that, with this sound cue, it’s no longer necessary to keep track of the number of bullets your enemy has fired in order to know when it’s safe to stick your head out; instead, you can just wait until you hear the tell-tale click. That “lowers the skill ceiling of the game,” as this Reddit thread puts it, because you no longer require experience or familiarity with in-game firearms to know when your enemy has run dry: You just need to listen.
But that’s maybe not as straightforward as it sounds. It’s not as though a flashing neon sign will appear on your screen when the sound is triggered, and you’ll need to be quite close to your enemy to actually hear it, as YouTuber Dinoswarleaf demonstrates. So it may be of limited value to begin with, and as one Redditor points out, most players aren’t actually out there counting bullets in the middle of a digital firefight.
It reminds me a bit of the famous “ping” sound made by clips ejecting from the Second World War-era M1 Garand rifle: Legend has it that the noise was a “deadly defect” that signaled an empty weapon, but the reality is that it could very rarely be heard, and had no real value even when it was.
Whether or not it actually makes a significant change to the skill ceiling, the reaction to the sound has been intense, and has led to calls for a CS:GO public test realm, so Valve can give these ideas a trial run before granting them to/inflicting them on the full player base. Valve hasn’t yet commented on the complaints—and the sound effect remains. Give it a listen in the short video clip below.