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CSPPA to launch a new independent Counter-Strike ranking system

Liquid's Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski is a board member of the CSPPA. Adela Sznajder/DreamHack

The Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association will launch a new independent global ranking system after input from more than 30 players and key industry figures, the association announced Thursday.

The new ranking system comes after much frustration among players with other rankings, such as the ESL World Ranking and the HLTV rankings, which have become standard for both event qualification and team standing. Unlike either of those, the CSPPA system will award points to players individually -- with each roster member receiving 20% of a team's collective points -- which will allow for them to take additional breaks if they are sick, injured or need time for mental health reasons.

"I think that rankings need to consider our mental health and that a protected ranking is a really good change to the scene," FaZe Clan rifler and association member Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye said in a press release. "It's important to protect the teams and not put extra pressure on the person who is injured or having mental health problems."

The CSPPA will publish its rulebook on Thursday to allow for full transparency with Counter-Strike fans, who will also be able to provide their feedback in an open email inbox. The rulebook outlines event weights based off prize pools, tournament standings and number of teams. So far in 2020, 22 tournaments have awarded points in the CSPPA system.

Awarding the most points will be Majors, which occur twice in a normal year -- once in the spring and once in the fall. This year, the ESL One Río Major was initially set for May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and outbreaks in Brazil, it has been rescheduled for November, replacing the time slot reserved for the second Major.

30 players, as well as tournament organizers, Valve, the League of Legends Championship Series Players Association and the University of Chichester, consulted on the formation of the system. Players included Team Liquid's Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, G2 Esports' Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Evil Geniuses' Tarik "tarik" Celik. Tournament organizers featured in discussions were ESL, BLAST, Flashpoint, DreamHack, Starladder, Beyond the Summit and WePlay! In its research, the CSPPA said that it found rankings to affect compensation of more than 75% of all professional Counter-Strike players. Rankings are also often used to determine which teams are invited to certain events. That has drawn criticism from many players even as recently as this week.