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5 Biggest Changes in Counter-Strike 2

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Valve effectively broke the internet when they lifted the curtains on Counter-Strike 2. Though it had been rumored for a while, there was no concrete source we could rely on that it was real. That's because it seemed too good to be true. Nonetheless, Counter-Strike 2, or CS2 for short, is a real thing that is projected to release in the summer of 2023. And a lot has already been revealed about the new changes coming to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sequel. That's why we've got you covered with the biggest changes in Counter-Strike 2, right here. So read on to find out what they are!

5. Re-imagined Smoke Grenades

Counter-Strike 2: Responsive Smokes

Let's talk about what's rocking everyone's world first, the newly designed Smoke grenades. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smoke grenades would bleed through the terrain. However, in CS2, the new “volumetric smokes” will fill and react to the space in its environment rather than bleed through it, giving it a much more realistic feel. This will alter the meta of how Smoke grenades are used in Counter-Strike 2, but it's not the most of all the changes to them.

That would have to be the fact that you can carve holes in the smoke with your bullets. Furthermore, you can completely vanish the smoke by tossing a HE grenade into the center of it. However, this only lasts a couple of seconds as the smoke will re-fill the space until the timer runs out. Regardless, this is still resulting in one of the most substantial changes to Counter-Strike 2. As Smoke grenades are one of, if not the most vital piece of utility. And these changes are causing a significant shift in the meta in how they play and will be used in matches.

4. Source 2 Engine

Changes in Counter-Strike 2

Another one of the most prevalent changes to Counter-Strike 2 is the switch to the Source 2 engine. As CS2 isn't an entirely new game but rather a reworked and updated version of the game built on Valve's new Source 2 engine. The old Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ran off of Valve's original Source engine. This has not only resulted in improved graphics for Counter-Strike 2, but also in a variety of other areas.

All maps' lighting has been greatly improved, including the skins of your guns and knives (Doppler Knives are shooting up in price because so). The blood is far more realistic and gory. It also splatters more precisely with the direction from which you were shot. There are now bullet traces from more powerful weapons like AWPs.

Some of Source 2's most aesthetically pleasing visual enhancements are to Molotivs and HE grenades. However, we won't say the same for Flash Bangs, as they're much more blinding and deafening. Nonetheless, the Souce 2 engine is responsible for a lot of the changes in Counter-Strike 2, especially in regard to the maps.

3. Map Changes

Counter-Strike 2: Leveling Up The World

As we said, thanks to the Source 2 engine, we're getting a much more refined product in Counter-Strike 2. And a lot of that can be seen in the maps. From the video released by Valve, it seems maps are being reworked under one of three stages. The first of these is “Touchstone maps.” These are classic maps that have seen lighting and character read improvements but otherwise haven't undergone much significant change.

“Upgrade Maps” are identical in terrain, but have been updated with Source 2 lighting and rendering. The final category is “Overhaul Maps,” which are some of the game's oldest maps that have been rebuilt from the ground up with slight environment changes using the Source 2 engine, such as Overpass.

So far, this is what's known about the map changes in Counter-Strike 2. We do suspect that when CS2 launches in the summer of 2023, it will come with at least a couple of new maps – so we hope. Nonetheless, visually the map changes are beautiful, but we'll just have to wait and see if they play the same.

2. 128-Tick Servers

Counter-Strike 2: Moving Beyond Tick Rate

This is something that players have been requesting, no, begging for from Valve, and it is by far the best change to Counter-Strike 2. That is, CS2 will feature highly responsive 128-Tick servers.

Counter-Strike Global Offensive, on the other hand, featured 64-Tick servers. Essentially, Tick Rates give the in-game response of when you command an action, such as shooting your gun or jumping. Previously, in CS:GO, this was done in “time intervals” with the 64-Tick Rate servers. And, while it was mostly seamless and fluid, sometimes there were a few milliseconds of latency, which didn't accurately depict your action. Sometimes causing you to miss a shot or result in your death.

This is dire in a highly competitive E-sport game like CS:GO. That's why many players are pleased to hear that Counter-Strike 2 will come equipped with 128-Tick servers. Plus with sub-tick updates, now “the server will know the exact moment you fired your shot, jumped your jump, or peaked your peak”. Thus, more precisely depicting your actions, and the exact moment when you do them.

1. Improved Matchmaking System

Changes in Counter-Strike 2

Feel like you've heard this one before? So have we. It has been noted that Valve is working on an improved matchmaking system. As for those of us that know, CS:GO's matchmaking system isn't the best. It constantly groups players of vastly different skill levels together, and more often than not, incorrectly determines your rank. This takes away from the competitive aspect of the game, when you simply just can't compete.

The goal for Valve with the new matchmaking system will be to lessen the need for third-party matchmakers, like ESEA and FACEIT. Which wouldn't be a problem in the first place if… Regardless, we hope to see an improved matchmaking system in Counter-Strike 2, as it would be one of the game's most welcomed changes.

So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there other changes to Counter-Strike 2 that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!

Riley Fonger is a freelance writer, music lover, and gamer since adolescence. He loves anything video game-related and grew up with a passion for story games such as Bioshock and The Last of Us.