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What You Should Know Heading into Counter-Strike 2

Change can be intimidating, and with Counter-Strike 2's release, players may worry as they jump from CSGO to CS2. So we've broken down what's different!

With the release of Counter-Strike 2 today, Global Offensive players are wondering what to expect as they transition into Counter-Strike’s new era. With the help of CSGO veteran William “RUSH” Wierzba, we’ve put together a primer to help you head into CS2 with a heads-up on how to adapt.

Meet Your Matchmaking Improvements

Matchmaking in Counter-Strike 2

Valve has worked to improve the matchmaking system with Counter-Strike 2, creating a separate skill group for each map. If a player has been grinding Mirage and Dust II, they won’t have the same rating heading into an Overpass match.

Valve has also boasted that wins in the Premier matchmaking mode will rank players on Regional, Global, and Friends-based leaderboards, which they expect to give players a better look into where they stack up against the competition.

However, the new changes are not without their caveats, as Valve’s official matchmaking servers are still only 64-tick, making FACEIT’s 128-tick servers a much more attractive option. If you’re unfamiliar, tick rate is the frequency at which the server updates the game state, meaning a 64-tick server is updating 64 times a second, and a 128-tick server is updating 128 times a second. Players argue that this has a major impact on hit registration on the server and a higher tick rate server is always preferred.

Get Smoked

Responsive Smokes in Counter-Strike 2

Counter-Strike 2 introduces Valve’s new dynamic smokes, which will adapt to the environment around them instead of a more set blooming behavior. The smoke can also be displaced by interactions from bullets and HE grenades, which can create windows of opportunity to pick through the smoke or gather intel, depending on the situation. Expect to see some tricky techniques develop over time around this change.

Some Changes to the Gunplay

Gunplay Changes in Counter-Strike 2

You will still see the same guns you know from Counter-Strike Global Offensive and older, but there have been some changes along the way that may take some getting used to. Players have reported that shooting on the run feels more accurate than usual, which could dramatically impact combat in general.

Some players have reported that the spray patterns feel slightly different, but there has been some debate about whether there is an actual change to the recoil or spread patterns themselves or how it feels due to the CS2 netcode. It may feel different at first, but we expect players to adapt quickly.

This could also be impacted by the revamped sounds of the guns, which could be the sort of subversive thing that will feel slightly off to players who have logged thousands of hours hearing the sounds of the guns in CSGO.

The CS2 Facelift

B-Site of Inferno in Counter-Strike 2

Global Offensive players will quickly notice the visual changes to Inferno and Overpass. In contrast, some other maps will look and feel more familiar or only feature minor tweaks and visual changes. It’s worth noting CSGO maps received gradual overhauls over the years from their predecessors, so this is likely subject to change in due time.

CSGO veterans will notice major changes to the buy menu, both visually and functionally, now that players can re-sell items, which will help to avoid those uncomfortable moments when you accidentally bought the wrong gun. The menu now features everything on one screen, rather than having to navigate the wheels to kit up.

Perhaps the most shocking change with CS2 is that the player has officially grown legs. Yeah, you can see your stems when you aim your camera down. This may not change the overall game’s meta, but it will still take some getting used to as players hit the server.

New Meta, Maybe?

Will the Counter-Strike 2 Meta Change?

It’s hard to pinpoint any significant shifts to the meta, as we haven’t seen any professional matches on Counter-Strike 2. Given that the Pro scene has stuck with CSGO to the very end, there haven’t been many serious scrims on CS2 yet. This could change very quickly, or it may take longer as players could lean on what they know, but we’ll have to wait to see how the Pros can manipulate and exploit the game in a variety of ways to see what changes, so stay tuned for more information in the future!