The arrival of CS2 to replace CS:GO is one of the biggest changes the esports world and the associated esports betting sector has seen for many years. Pavel Hacker, Head of Marketing & Affiliates for esports odds feeds and risk management specialist Oddin.gg, tells SBC News what to expect.
After 23 years, Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has been officially replaced by Counter Strike 2 (CS2).
The legendary title has been replaced, and not only the gamers and esports players but also us, professionals in igaming and betting, are quickly adapting to the new king of the multiplayer tactical first-person shooter category.
The first question to answer: is CS2 a completely new game, and would, subsequently, trading and betting require a completely new approach? We conclude by saying that the modifications are subtle, yet important.
The major changes in the game are visual: CS2 was built using the Source 2 engine. It looks better than ever, but the visual improvements – such as smoke-visualisation quality – will also have tactical implications. There is a new ‘subtick system’ that changes gunplay and will require the players to readjust their strategies and tactics.
Valve not only added, but also subtracted, and some of the features and modes, as well as content, available in CS:GO have been dropped. The updated graphics engine, now aligned with contemporary benchmarks, preserves fundamental game mechanics, facilitating sustained content innovation and empowering players – both amateur and professional – to refine their gameplay proficiency. The map set has stayed intact, as has the range of available weapons.
The competitive gameplay has undergone changes as part of the transition to CS2 from CS:GO. One of the most notable alterations is the shift in maximum rounds per half, which has dropped from MR15 to MR12 – and after you switch sides, the team that is first to get 13 rounds will win the match.This decision is primarily driven by the objective to streamline match durations and intensify the significance of each round.
Consequently, teams might be inclined to adopt a riskier playstyle and prioritise clutch situations. Nonetheless, without any modifications to the economic system, this could pose a dilemma. Teams may find it even more critical to save and accumulate resources, given the heightened value of every round.
Another significant update is the mechanics of smoke grenades. They can now be momentarily dispersed by either launching a HE grenade or firing through the smoke, paving the way for innovative strategies and plays.
Furthermore, with CS2, Valve has introduced the subtick system. While it aims to be a refined version of the 64-tick, the game no longer supports the 128-tick, a staple for all tournaments previously. This implies that teams will need to rediscover utility line-ups to adapt to this new environment.
CS:GO & CS:2 Co-existence
Casual players may find it challenging to access Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) without actively seeking it out. The game remains accessible on Steam. However, professional users continue to have the ability to locate and engage with CS:GO. Consequently, it is foreseeable that the broader gaming community will gradually transition to Counter-Strike 2 (CS2).
At the moment, there’s a concurrent presence of both versions in the competitive arena. ESL has decisively transitioned to CS2, with this change being effective from October. The inaugural official matches on CS2 are slated for 4th October with ESL Impact, followed by the commencement of ESL Challenger EU on 5th October. IEM Sydney, scheduled to begin on 16th October, is set to be the first premier event on CS2.
Notably, the shift from CS:GO to CS2 is distinct from past transitions, such as from 1.6 to Source. Teams are proactively moving to CS2, a decision largely influenced by the forthcoming PGL Major Copenhagen 2024, which is already confirmed to be hosted on CS2. Other tournament organisers are anticipated to follow suit shortly.
The distinction between MR12 and MR15 represents a crucial adjustment pertaining to trading and the provision of odds in live gaming scenarios, particularly for bookmakers and our team to oversee and manage effectively.
At Oddin.gg, we have successfully facilitated the capability to transition between both game versions and are poised to deliver comprehensive coverage of the inaugural official CS2 matches.
However, it’s imperative to acknowledge certain constraints, as previously noted. Given the alterations, it’s projected that pistol rounds will assume heightened strategic significance. It remains to be seen how teams will recalibrate their economic strategies and the subsequent impact on match durations.
Additionally, with map modifications such as extended spawn points for Terrorists and varied angles, we anticipate a shift in the dynamics between Counter-Terrorist and Terrorist strengths.
While the foundational mechanics of the game have largely been retained, we don’t foresee substantial disruptions in the global rankings. A select cohort of teams or players might pioneer new metas or exploit novel in-game mechanics, potentially propelling them in the rankings. However, the overarching trajectory is expected to remain stable.
The truncated round format might pave the way for potential upsets, particularly in the best-of-one matches that are integral to the major circuit. Initial phases post-transition might be characterised by a certain level of disarray, given the limited preparatory window afforded to teams.
Elevating Esports & Trade Dynamics
Upon the game’s launch, the Oddin.gg team forecast a surge in tournament frequency, driven by amplified interest and fervour from the community.
The impending version upgrade delivers a streamlined platform for esports interaction, with potential implications on the nuances of competitive trading dynamics. Valve has strategically orchestrated this transition to guarantee minimal disturbances for paramount stakeholders, with a pronounced emphasis on those concentrating on trade-centric facets.
We are so excited for CS2 and to see esports around it!