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The Ethical Dilemma Of m0NESY’s Window Smoke

16.05.2022, 00:54
PGL Antwerp 2022Belgium, Antwerp, Antwerps Sportpaleis
$1,000,000Prize Pool
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2nd Place
ENCE
3rd Place

In the match against Imperial, we saw m0NESY lining up a wacky smoke. He tossed a smoke near the edge of the window and it bloomed “mid-air”, i.e., on the pixel edge of the window. Using that smoke, he killed two Imperial players in Mid.

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But there was so much more going on there. No one noticed how oblivious the two Imperial players were. No one noticed that there was already a window smoke there and yet, such a huge “one-way” had been created. Everyone thought that the aging Brazilians misplaced their Window smoke. The truth was far from it.

Soon enough, it was out. This was no ordinary smoke. This was a smoke that literally “canceled” the window smoke from m0NESY’s perspective, giving him a full vision of Mid. Yet, from the POVs of the guys in Mid, there was no gap. It was all gray.

If you’ve watched the video, you are aware of how serious this bug is. This smoke bug was welcomed with sheer outrage and disgust by the community. m0NESY was quick to tweet that G2 had cleared this with the PGL officials and the admins, and it was a legal smoke.

We are at moral crossroads here, the likes of which are not inherently new to human nature in general. It’s legal, but is it ethical? When a question comes down to ethics, it will surely spark a debate amongst a general crowd. One can make strong arguments for and against it. One can say that it’s unsportsmanlike to do something like this, hence it’s not a question of legality. It’s a question of the depth of one’s morality. On the other hand, one can argue that the pros at the top of any field are highly ambitious and want to win no matter what. Hence, it’s fine to use the smoke as long as it’s legal.

There is no right or wrong answer to a question of ethics. The strength of an opinion is not in numbers when it comes to questions like these (in most cases).

For me, the only thing that doesn’t lie in the gray is the fact that m0NESY should not be attacked in any form. He’s just a 17-year-old kid who shouldn’t be attacked or slandered for doing his job. The whole G2 squad knew about this and PGL officials and admins knew about it. m0NESY should not be your scapegoat.

If there’s anyone to blame, it’s the admins. They should’ve paid attention to what the smoke really does when bloomed. Now here comes another part where the community is split.

Did G2 twist the narrative?

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Whatever I say from here belongs to a set of possibilities and speculations. Unless we get an official confirmation of how things really went down, we must remain civil.

It’s possible that G2 only showed the smoke, in isolation. Perhaps the admin saw how it’s simply a pixel error, and isn’t that big a deal. Perhaps the admin didn’t know the real story of how the smoke resets the logic value of pre-existing smoke. In this case, G2 become the “bad guys.”

In my personal opinion, that’s just ridiculous. It was used in the RMR, against NaVi and against Imperial. The admins and PGL had more than enough time and more than enough samples to look deeper into the matter. They chose not to. PGL okayed the smoke. But again, they also okayed the crouch jump bug in the 2017 Major, before this iconic meme pic was born, where everyone came to a gentleman agreement not to use it.

What’s the fix?

Valve released the patch just a few hours ago, but let’s assume Valve didn’t. What would happen then? Would it really break the game? Well, no.

Unlike the olofboost back in 2014, this bug has an extremely easy fix. Just use a smoke lineup that lands the smoke as close to the edge of the window as possible. That will render the m0NESY smoke redundant since there will still be “uncancelled” smoke beyond the window area. Smoking Top Mid and then smoking Window from behind boxes is the best way to do it. We saw Boombl4 doing it against NiP. There are many different smoke lineups from T Spawn that can land the smoke closer to the window edge, hence this smoke bug is not game-breaking.

On a deeper level, I’m not really sure. I’m not a game developer so I can’t put my money where my mouth is, but in my understanding, it’s simply a logic value error during the overlap of whatever entity “smoke” is, in the code. Ideally, it mustn’t be too difficult to fix, since Valve released the patch not too long after the bug was ushered up into the spotlight by the public.

Despite the patch being released, I doubt it’ll put end to the philosophical discussions. Soon enough, these talks dragged a lot of other issues into the spotlight. One-way smokes were the centerpiece of the story.

A Gateway into Bigger Questions

The discussions about this smoke bug are calling into question the practicality of one-way smokes in general. Shouldn’t one-way smokes be disallowed as well? Fixed, more than disallowed. Why should one side have a visual advantage over the other? Is it ethical to leave the other side to figure stuff like this by themselves on the eleventh hour? How does that hold fewer “unsportsmanship points” than the m0NESY smoke?

Doesn’t it come down to what we feel is more “natural” in our real world than it is about the morality of what’s right and wrong? We can imagine smoke in real life which can give more visual accessibility to one side than the other (comes down to the colors of the background, of course) but we simply can’t imagine two clouds of smoke “canceling” each other out. Think about it. How is the m0NESY smoke any different than a one-way? It’s an extended, hyperbolic one-way. So huge that it becomes a “wallhack” category bug at this point.

The main concern is the range of visible area that the bug gives access to. But again, where do you draw a line? How much area for a “normal” one-way is okay and how much isn’t?

I’m treading on fine lines here, of course. There will be a barrage of people disagreeing with me, but to each their own.

This is a slippery slope to other CS:GO bugs. How can we see people crossing light sources in smokes? Isn’t that a bug? Isn’t the molly-smoke thing where enemies are visible momentarily a bug?

As I said, there is no right or wrong. As long as everyone knows about a certain “bug”, it’s a feature. As long as everyone is given a fair chance and enough time to prepare for and against a certain “bug”, it’s a feature. Does that mean that m0NESY or G2 must take the blame and the shame for what transpired in the server? No. We should not question the depth of their ethics.

This is a Valve and PGL eff-up, and no one is to blame apart from them. Certainly not m0NESY.

I have one last question, though. Why did Valve wait for the bug to come into the public eye before fixing it? Didn’t the PGL and the admins inform Valve of this when G2 first reported it? Questions, questions. To be in peace is to accept we can’t find the answers to all.

Let the Major continue.

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