I used to be a regular Counter-Strike player, but that was almost twenty years ago. What’s remarkable about Valve’s team-based shooter is how little its fundamentals have changed in these twenty years. AWP and M4A1? Still pretty much the way they were when I first mishandled them in the Half-Life mod.
Which makes yesterday’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update quite remarkable. The AWP magazine size has been halved and the M4A1-S now deals less damage at long range.
Valve announced the changes in a tiny blog post, as if even the smallest tweak to Counter-Strike’s arsenal isn’t necessarily going to spark community outrage.
And it was not the smallest change. The AWP is (almost always) a one-hit Counter-Strike sniper rifle. There used to be 10 bullets per clip, but now there are 5. While this change won’t affect someone like me, who will most likely fire three careful bullets and then get killed, it will have a big impact on top players. Now they have to recharge.
The M4A1-S is one of the most beloved assault rifles in Counter-Strike. It is designed exclusively for counter-terrorists and is a direct descendant of the M4A1 carbine from the original Counter-Strike. I remember getting angry when the M4A1 was subjected to various modifications during the mod days – to make it less accurate in certain situations or to change how its silencer works. I expect some players to feel the same way about CS:GO making the M4A1-S weaker from a distance. Not because it’s weird that bullets should get less lethal the farther they go, but because all the changes are stupid and wrong and I hate them. (Sorry, I upgraded to Windows 11 today.)
Finally, the update also changes the Active Duty map pool, adding Anubis and removing Dust2. Dust2 can still be played in Casual, Deathmatch and Competitive modes, but the Active Duty pool determines which maps will be used in official CS:GO esports tournaments. In this case, this means that Dust2 is unlikely to take part in the 2023 Paris Major.
I miss Counter-Strike, which means I miss the times in my life when I could spend five hours a day playing multiplayer shooters with Swedes twice my age. I currently need to find some Swedes in their 70s for this to work.