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Counter-Strike 2 changes - map reworks, reactive smokes, and more

The FPS genre just got a massive facelift with all of the Counter-Strike 2 changes, so keep reading for a complete list of all the new features to expect.

Counter Strike 2 changes: two counter terrorists running away from spawn on Overpass

What are the Counter-Strike 2 changes? There are so many new features in the sequel, we completely understand if you’ve found it difficult to keep up. While Counter-Strike 2 may look a lot like its predecessor on the surface, the Source 2 engine opens up a whole new set of mechanics that weren’t possible in CS:GO.

Since 2015, the Counter-Strike whisper network has been buzzing with Source 2 conspiracy theories. Over the course of eight years, even those not well-versed in technology have become acquainted with Source 2. Thanks to fan-made artwork, everyone had expected visual upgrades to Counter-Strike 2, but Valve has gone the extra mile with the free PC game. Fortunately, the FPS game is a free upgrade from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, so you can check out these changes without spending a penny.

Counter-Strike 2 changes

The major Counter-Strike 2 changes are:

  • Upgraded and overhauled maps
  • New smoke grenades dynamics
  • Sub-tick system
  • Reimagined visual effects and audio
  • In-game binds, legs, and more

Counter Strike 2 changes: the new lighting effects on Nuke where the nuclear weapons are held

Revamped Counter-Strike 2 maps

The upgrade to the Source 2 engine has brought about visual upgrades to the Counter-Strike 2 maps, but only a few will undergo the knife for a full overhaul. Valve has divided all locales into three categories: Overhaul, Upgrade, and Touchstone.

Overhaul maps have been built from the ground up, meaning Valve may add or remove a bunch of new boxes, windows, and tiny details. Upgrade maps will receive significant changes thanks to the improved Source 2 lightning. For example, Nuke looks much more alive compared to CSGO’s gloomy blue aesthetic. These lighting changes may see players gravitate to this fairly unpopular map when they get their hands on Counter-Strike 2.

Touchstone maps are those that need minimal tweaks, like the legendary Dust 2. But you will notice a colour-palette change in some areas like CT-spawn, lower tunnels, and more. The bright preset will also be applied to Touchstone maps in Counter-Strike 2. If you want to see these revamped maps at their best, our Counter-Strike 2 settings guide should be your next stop.

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New smoke grenade mechanics

The visual upgrade to the multiplayer game was expected, but the changes to smoke grenades sent shockwaves through the Counter-Strike community. Previously, the smoke looked hollow, yet it won’t interact with external objects. Bullets, walls, boxes, and grenades didn’t budge a smoke. That’s all set to change in Counter-Strike 2.

Smokes in Counter-Strike 2 are responsive and 3D. They’re able to seep through walls, and barriers, blend with other smokes and react to bullets. For example, if you shot a bullet at a smoke grenade, you’d have yourself a hole to peek through. As the explosion increases, so does the gap it creates.

Sub-tick Counter-Strike 2 servers

Players asked for 128 tick-rate, but they got more than they bargained for. Counter-Strike 2 is independent of tick rate, meaning the servers know the exact instant an action happens.

Previously, the game evaluated actions in discrete time intervals, meaning any action between ticks was at risk of being lost. It was barely noticeable to casual players, but in high-stake games, every shot matters. In Counter-Strike 2, the server updates the game state faster than the tick rate. This means that the server constantly sends updates to the clients (the players’ computers) rather than waiting for the next tick.
Meaning the server can calculate the movement and actions of all players in the game continuously rather than only at discrete intervals determined by the tick rate. This update will significantly improve gameplay and overall feel.

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“Now, the tick-rate no longer matters for moving and shooting. The server will know the exact moment you fired your shot, jumped your jump, or peeked your peek. And the server will calculate your precise actions between ticks, so what you see is what you get.” Valve said in their Counter-Strike 2: Moving Beyond Tick Rate video.

But, there’s also a downside for returning players. A sub-tick update means players must create new lineups and learn them all over again. Playtesters have revealed that some utility lineups still work, but most have become futile. So, if you were Lineup Larry in CSGO, you should pop back into the practice server.

Counter-Strike 2 visual effects and audio

CSGO has long been criticised for not being brand-friendly. It has weapons, terrorists, and blood. Instead of backing out of realism to appease potential sponsors, Valve has now added more blood in an attempt to add another layer of strategy to the game.

Directional blood impacts (that fade over time) will give players information as they move through the world. There’s an all-new behaviour for water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more to contribute to the tactical aspect of the game.

Some players will be pleased to know that Valve may also have taken a page from Valorant’s book. A sound radar isn’t mentioned anywhere on the official blog, but keen players can spot it in certain shots within the trailers. When the model walks, a wave appears on the radar which indicates how far the enemies can hear you. Valve hasn’t yet confirmed it, but it’s likely a new feature that competitive players can benefit from considering how crucial footsteps are in Counter-Strike.

Counter-Strike 2 in-game binds and more

There were a number of leaks that pointed towards jump-binds being added to the game instead of needing to manually create one using CSGO console commands. Instead, all you need to do is jump and throw a smoke grenade and the smoke should consistently land where it’s supposed to. We’ve got some of the best Counter-Strike 2 binds right here for your perusal.

Among other minor additions, Valve has added legs to Counter-Strike 2. If you never noticed, CSGO players couldn’t look at their own legs while defusing or generally looking down. At first glance, it may feel a bit creepy, but the additional info can help dodge molotov spread while defusing the C4.

Besides all that, Counter-Strike 2 will have new audio for headshots, dinks, and body shots to boost player satisfaction. You may also spot many small UI, audio, environment, and buy menu changes as you play the game, but these are all the major overhauls Valve has made to its beloved FPS.

That’s all you need to know about the Counter-Strike 2 changes. Counter-Strike Global Offensive might be bidding us farewell, but the memories we’ve made in one of the best PC games will continue to be a testament to its unparalleled impact on the gaming community. But let’s not be sad – instead, you should focus on improving your CSGO ranks with the best Counter-Strike 2 crosshairs to improve your aim.