Greetings, I the War Owl greets you! I just unwrapped our Christmas present from Valve: A complete re-work of the shotgun spread. That came outta nowhere. I guess we were hard to shop for this year because they just went to the store and bought us… whatever. I like it, though. Previously, shotgun spreads were entirely random. They were a cone around the center, making the pattern completely unpredictable. In the continued effort to make Counter-Strike a more skill-based and less luck-based game, (evidence in the pistols re-work) Valve has made the spread of every one of the shotguns completely unique and reliable with moderate variation. Much like the spray patterns of each of the rifles and sub-machine guns. This will require players to learn how each of the shotguns function, and to train themselves to understand the spread pattern. I’m coining that term: “Spread Pattern” instead of “Spray Pattern,” so, get ready to spread n’ spray! Oh, goodness. First let me say that this change is not yet available by default. You have to enable it as a server setting. Just flip the bit on the weapon_accuracy_shotgun_spread_patterns variable to try it out. Valve, we need to talk about your variable naming conventions: It shouldn’t be a sentence. Knowing where to aim at different distances will help you be a better player. So let’s go through the different shotguns to give you a good starting point. “Nova” might mean “no go” in español, but it certainly has its use. The Nova is cheap, has the tightest spread, and has awful penetration. (These terms are going to get this video demonetized, I can feel it.) Because of this, the weapon has historically been used for anti-eco and for longer-ranged engagements than the other shotguns. The spread patterns work by having the pellets go to the same place every time with slight randomness to each individual pellet. Every time you fire the Nova, you’ll see something similar: A line of pellets going to the left, a line of pellets going down, and two pellets going above. At close distances, I still recommend just going for headshots. You can also shoot this weapon while moving. Honestly, don’t practice. You won’t see much of a change if you just continue going for the center of the enemy’s head. You’ll use the Nova in pretty much the same way you were, except it’s far less random, especially at longer distances. Previously, you could randomly get a one-tap headshot kill with the Nova, or shoot five shots directly at the head and not kill them. Now the weapon will reliably two-tap or three-tap depending on the distance. Reduced randomness of results greatly increases the skill cap of the game. The XM-1014, or the “auto-shotty,” (Who says XM-1014?) it’s a mixed-bag shotgun, it does crap damage and has a massive spread. Its real benefit comes from its high rate of fire, and the $900 kill reward. With the new change, however, you can better anticipate where the pellets are going to go. The first-shot spread pattern is very distinct: Two horizontal rows, of three pellets each, except the top-right pellet is doubled down on the top-middle pellet. Interestingly, those top-middle pellets do not go towards the center of the crosshair: To hit the head with the top two shots, don’t aim at the head: aim slightly below it. I use the top line of my crosshair and put that over the head. You can find a similar method for whatever crosshair you’re using. Notice how I’ve gotten a headshot on all of these dummies at every possible distance. That’s because I’m good at things. This is, however, just on the first shot. With successive shots, you’ll notice the spread changes considerably, almost unpredictably! But as you can see, it trends upward after the third shot. You need to slightly pull down on the weapon after the third shot To continue shooting somewhat reliably. The Mag-7: CT-only magazine-fed shotgun, functions very much the same. This shotgun has a maximum falloff distance where the pellets just disappear, and a damage falloff along with a big spread. So it’s primarily used as a close-range, one-hit kill shotgun; it’s a surprise weapon that gets you a bunch of money for your kill. I don’t think is change at all. If you check out the new spread, it generally goes up and slightly to the right. There’s no climb with successive shots, and it still makes sense to fire the weapon while moving because there’s not really a movement penalty to it. You can still get a reliable one-hit body shot at close range: even more reliable now, or a one-hit headshot kill if you aim a little bit down. Instead of aiming for the center of the player’s face as we’ve trained ourselves to do with every weapon, aim where their mouth and chin are to maximize the number of pellets hitting the head. It’s actually a little bit similar to how the auto-shotty was functioning. The Mag-7 was a beast, and will continue to be a beast. You only have to very slightly modify how you’re using it. The Sawed-Off was a dumb weapon, and will continue to be a dumb weapon. It functions very similarly to the Mag-7, except on the CT side, you control the engagements: You can hide in a close-range position and surprise the enemy, whereas on T-side, it’s way more limited. It’s useful for getting an opening kill on force-buys at very specific locations. Beyond that, it’s poop. Notice how the spread of the Sawed-Off is wide horizontally. That doesn’t really help us. You can’t do anything with that, can we? Three of the pellets are near the center, though, so I guess it makes sense to just… use it how we’ve been using it. I don’t think this change is going to affect the Sawed-Off very much at all, but those three pellets are good for headshots. This patch gets the patented “WarOwl Two Talons of Approval up!” … I’m aware of how lame that was, I don’t know why I went through with it. This isn’t a buff or a nerf of the shotguns, unless unintentional. This is an attempt to reduce the randomness of the game while improving the skill ceiling. Whoever took over at Valve and is making these decisions in 2017: Keep up the great work, good job! Because I feel like Valve is doing a better job at the continued development of Counter-Strike this year than all of the other years combined. Which is good, because a lot of players quit Counter-Strike to go play games like Overwatch, or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. If you quit to go play Call of Duty: World War II, you’re dead to me. Thank you folks very much for watching, this is my first video in my new studio. Oh, and I still… …have no closer. [Philip supplied the captions.] Hey guys, let’s take a tour of the new studio!