We noted that there were more than a few concerns for the upcoming ESL One Cologne, which was originally scheduled to be one of the first returns to professional Counter-Strike in a LAN environment. The primary concern that was left, considering that ESL had a closed studio environment within Cologne, Germany, was travel bans and restrictions levied on the United States, Russia, and multiple other nations that would make travel a nightmare, if at all feasible. \n \nDBLTAP received documents stating that the ESL is leaning towards holding the tournament online, instead of the hoped-for LAN environment within a closed studio. \n \nNote that this is not yet confirmed, but it seems likely. \n \nWith travel bans offering only one hurdle for teams to navigate, COVID-19 itself also reigns as an omnipresent threat to anyone willing to travel too far in the current climate. \n \nHLTV reported that ESL One was hoping, and planning, for a return to offline play where latency would not be a factor, allowing teams to finally strut their stuff in an era where results seem almost randomized as teams collide head to head, again and again, in environments where latency results to players dropping out of the server, or freezing during clutch situations. \n \nhttps:\/\/twitter.com\/DBLTAPesports\/status\/1278733674784137216 \n \nTo say that it hasn't been ideal Counter-Strike is woefully understating the issues that are currently presenting themselves in the professional play of Counter-Strike: a scene that is consistently punctuated by high-stake tourneys wrapped up in exorbitant showcases with massive crowds has been relegated to forming matches on Discord and using third-party applications while the rankings go upside down. \n \nIf this 'leaning' turns into another online-event, it's difficult to be enthusiastic about anything other than the players and staff ensuring their own safety; vital, of course. But many were hoping that ESL One Cologne 2020 would have been a knock-down-drag-out fight that highlighted which teams were still capable of delivering high-octane gameplay within an offline environment. \n \nIt appears that this might have been a bit too ambitious. \n \nStill, it will ensure that multiple teams will make it to the event which precedes the Major later this year; an event that has been moved twice already in capitulation to the ongoing pandemic. Teams such as Liquid, MIBR, FURIA, Chaos, and Na'Vi will have a far easier time attending the event if they aren't attempting to outspend the currently ongoing travel bans imposed on certain nations. \n \nThe eleventh season of ESL has already taken place entirely online, with teams locked within their respective regions to avoid unplayable levels of latency and ping. If ESL One fails to bring CS:GO back to an offline environment, there's no telling when we'll finally see favored teams take a solid crack at each other.