Volcano on Gaming

Sep 6

Tweaking the Kill Reward System in CS:GO

In theory, CS:GO brought along a great mechanism for weapon balance by tweaking the monetary value awarded to the player after landing a frag.  In practice however, the values chosen for the rewards were too extreme and also did not accurately take competitive play into account.  I believe that this idea can be tweaked to perfection over time and provide more balance and incentive to each gun without decimating the intricacies of the economy system in competitive gameplay.

The original intent

Valve’s original intent of altering the kill rewards was to provide more incentive for the team strapped for cash to invest in weapons rather than just performing a full save round.  If the team was able to get two or three kills but still lose, they would be able to recoup much of their expenses and not fall too far behind economically while giving them a larger chance to win the round at hand.  Also, guns that were typically neglected would become more appealing.

The problem

As it stands now, guns that have always been used on anti-eco rounds now reward the player a whopping $900 per kill.  This allows the winning team to further snowball their advantage. 

There are a few reasons SMG’s are so effective on anti-eco rounds:

  • SMG’s have a fast rate of fire
  • SMG’s are great against unarmored targets and significantly weaker against armored targets
  • SMG’s are inexpensive

These weapon traits mean that players using SMG’s can mow down unarmored targets with ease.  Should a player from the winning team die, there isn’t much of a risk of their team losing the round due to the enemy getting their hands on the SMG which is ineffective against armored targets.  If it were a rifle that made its way into the hands of the other team, their chances of winning the round increase tremendously.  Also, the dying player’s bankroll isn’t damaged as severely as it would have been if they had lost a rifle instead of an SMG.

Working towards a solution

As we can see, there are a several factors working contrary to Valve’s initial intent given the current implementation of the kill reward system.  Below, I attempt to create suitable monetary kill rewards to make the weapons in the game appealing and balanced without altering current weapon behavior and prices.  By having extra monetary incentives based on the weapon used, the player has more factors to consider when making a weapon purchase.

Weapon reward guidelines

  • Rate of fire
  • Accuracy
  • $ Spent/Kill Ratio
  • Damage
  • Efficiency vs armored and unarmored targets
  • Frequency of use compared to similar guns

New Kill Rewards

Team Kill Penalty

The penalty for killing a teammate should simply be the inverse of the kill reward.  An AK-47 would award the player $300 for a kill and -$300 for a team kill.

  • Very straightforward and easy to understand
  • Players are not excessively punished for team killing in a competitive match since killing their teammate is punishment enough
  • Retains the economic variables of team killing in a much less extreme manner
  • Guns with the highest kill reward also have the highest team kill penalty


Table containing suggested pistol kill awards

  • The side specific pistols award the player with $450 which provides these pistols a unique benefit to make up for their lack of appeal when compared with other pistols such as the P250
  • The reward for pistols is not greater than $450 as that would greatly skew the amount of money players have in the second round
  • Extra layer of complexity in weapon strategy as players can use their sidearm to finish off a helpless or wounded foe to earn $450 instead of using their primary weapon
  • The P250 has a slight reduction in kill reward as it is already an extremely powerful pistol at a low price of $500


Table containing suggested SMG kill awards

  • The most effective SMG’s at winning anti-eco rounds do not reward the player with extra money
  • Low cost SMG’s that the losing team can afford offer a slight bonus to cash reward
  • Keeping an SMG that awards extra cash is very dangerous vs rifles and deagles


Table containing suggested heavy weapon kill awards

  • Shotguns provide extra cash since they are risky to use for the winning team on anti-eco rounds
  • The MAG-7 is the most powerful and versatile of the shotguns so it provides the least kill reward.
  • The XM1014 is an underused and expensive shotgun so it provides the largest kill reward
  • The M249 currently makes very little sense to buy compared to the Negev so it is given a large kill reward bonus to add extra incentive
  • The Negev has a slightly larger than standard kill reward since it is the most expensive gun in the game and purchasing it will quickly drain a player’s funds


Table containing suggested rifle kill awards

  • The standard four rifles remain unchanged
  • The SSG 08 (scout) awards the player $900 per kill and can be utilized for low money/surprise buys since the player can recoup a lot of their costs with a kill or two
  • The SG 553 provides $150 more per kill than the AUG since the price discrepancy between the SG 553 and AK-47 is twice the price discrepancy between the M4A4 and AUG
  • The AWP kill reward was tripled to $150 which should suffice as the AWP is an extremely cost effective gun
  • The kill reward for the autosnipers was increased to $450 since they are the most expensive rifles and are also underused


Table containing suggested miscellaneous kill awards

  • Knife kills were reduced to $600 since they are typically the most common in pistol rounds or when a team already has a large lead
  • The Molotov kill reward was bumped up to compensate for their large cost and low probability of getting a kill
  • Decoys, flashes and smoke kill rewards were increased to $600 since they are so uncommon that a player should be rewarded for getting a kill with one of these grenades

Final Thoughts

This is a first pass at these values and will likely require some further tweaking.  I believe that these new kill rewards are a step in the right direction as they attempt to balance the weapons while providing the player with more interesting decisions than the current kill rewards in CS:GO.