Valve are again tinkering with the Negev light machine gun in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, trying to find its role as a support weapon. The changes are relatively minor on the scale of things, but I'm still fascinated by the fact that CS has held basically the same form for almost 19 years yet the developers are still tinkering with fine details. Samuel Horti was jolly excited when the initial Negev rework in 2017 turned a joke gun into a murderous bullet beam intended to deny areas to enemies, but the devs are not quite happy with its suppressive fire. And so, changes!
Last year's Negev changes resulted in a weapon which had useless accuracy in bursts, but after an initial wild spurt would focus into a tight and accurate beam of bullets. It was rubbish if you stumbled into a fight, but great for holding down fire to ward enemies away from certain areas while shouting "RRRAAAAAHHHHHHH!"
Or if you were a tricky git, like Samuel, you might sometimes catch people off-guard and commit horrendous murders. But obviously, once the initial novelty and surprise wore off, players became more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the gun - making it weaker.
The devs are still trying to find a "supporting role" for the Negev, they explained in last night's blog post:
"At this point it's clear that the upside of the weapon isn't enough to compensate for its downsides, so we're making additional adjustments. The goal hasn't changed, but the implementation is a little different.
"First, the good news: the Negev is now a little cheaper, a burst of several bullets is now more useful (at short and medium range, at least), and the 'beam' starts a little sooner.
"The bad news: the Negev now has lower armor penetration (no longer lethal to a helmet) and movement speed has been cut in half while firing; no more moving turrets."
How will this pan out? We'll see. The changes are currently in a public beta build, and are due to hit the main game client "in the coming days."