The latest in a long line of CSGO updates has been announced by Valve and the immediate takeaway is that the long-awaited nerf to the AUG has arrived, sort of. All the company has done is revert the price back to the original $3300 tag, but now the cat is out of the bag that may or may not have a large effect, given the way players have taken to the weapon. Either way, that is only the superficial headline, with far bigger fundamental changes to the game also included in the notes.
The CT economy has seen a few changes recently, and it is there that Valve is once again trying to tweak things, to the chagrin of some. As top analyst SPUNJ pointed out on social media in response to a comment that these changes would make the game more "random", it is a complete misnomer to consider that every map and moment must be balanced perfectly between CT and T side, and if that is Valve’s aim then the game might be in a spot of bother.
CT economy change, Astralis affected?
Now, in what is the biggest change in the CSGO update by far, instead of the CT-side loss bonus resetting after a round win to the stage-one figure, it simply drops back down by one stage, meaning that CTs have even more economic insurance than before. This might seem like a good thing, as it makes the CTs more likely to take risks, but equally it has the potential to make CT economy management easier, and remove the skill required to understand how a half might play out.
That might not seem like a big deal, but right now Astralis are the best team in the world, and a large part of that is the way they manage matches, not just rounds. Reducing penalties for being reset makes CT-side economy management easier, which does help everyone but Astralis in the short term, but in the long-term is going to make in-game leading less complicated, and the game easier to play on the CT side, which is good or bad depending on your point of view.
The other major change to the team aspect of the game is the fact flash assists are now recorded, and will show on the kill feed, which players were quick to point out has the unintended consequence of given the opposition more information than they were previously equipped with. How much that ends up altering the game in practice remains to be seen, but we know Valve is listening to feedback from some pros at least, and this could be tweaked in coming weeks.
M4A1s is good again
There are other changes, of course, with the aforementioned AUG price change coming alongside a buff to the M4A1s, which was somewhat of an outcast at the last Major. The silenced version of the M4 is now able to hold 25/75 bullets, up from the previous 20/60, meaning it has better potential for sprays than was the case while retaining the ‘stealth’ aspect that comes with the silencer and lack of tracers.
Price tweaks to the Nova, Sawed-Off and Mag7 could also make for a few more fun rounds on certain maps, but with Oskar benched by Mousesports the best of the shotty crew won’t be around to show us how it works, sadly. There are also changes to some of the maps, with Canals and Vertigo getting a level of rework, and radar updates for Biome and Abbey.
Prisma Case excitement
Finally, for all the skin enthusiasts out there, the CSGO update included the release of the Prisma Case, with 17 new community-designed weapons and the Horizon Knives in Chroma finishes.
Related: Win CSGO skins every week in the Luckbox Discord server
After many years of basically stasis, this is the most active CSGO devs have been, and it will be really interesting to see how the game evolves as a result. In traditional sport the wisdom has always been that you make changes unless you are already on top, which is why you see football so reluctant to embrace VAR etc, while smaller games make more regular changes. As the premier FPS and arguably esport, it is risky to be this way, but Valve is trying to make the game better for competitors, and that’s never a bad thing.