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Valve updates Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with game-changing changes

Earlier this week, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players on the PC platform were treated to a series of welcome improvements as Valve introduced two updates over the weekend. The first update contained some game-changing tweaks while Valve was quick to release a second follow-up update which evened out the quirks of the first one. The balance related changes come as a result of feedback from professional players in Counter-Strike teams such as NiP, Ubinited, Team ALTERNATE and Area 51 who most recently played CS:GO at the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) 2012 competition. The ESWC 2012 finals were held in Paris between the 2nd and 4th of November.

In a word of AAA titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3 which eat up disk space in excess of 12 to 15 GB, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has had a relatively small 6 GB footprint in comparison. However, the hardworking folks at Valve have optimized the game further so it now consumes just 4.8 GB of space after this week’s update. In terms of  user interface, they’ve also introduced various new features into the GOTV client (a tool used to spectate on-going matches which is useful at gaming tournaments and competitive environments where the Counter-Strike series has had a large presence in over the past decade) to make spectating easier and more intuitive.

On the players’ side of things, the Scoreboard has now been revamped (new style on the left; old score board on the right in the picture shown above) so the score is easier to see, team names are now visible and CS:GO now supports Big Picture mode (which is Valve’s interface for TV and controller-based gaming for those who are inclined to use it).

Now, time for the gameplay stuff that we’re all excited about.

  • Explosion sounds from grenades have now been separated so that pinpointing their distance is easier.
  • Scope zoom noise (from using the AWP, Scout, SCAR and others) have now been reduced. So you can no longer hear an enemy zooming in from half a map away, which was quite ridiculous.
  • Fire from molotovs and incendiary grenades have smaller area coverage but spread faster
  • Fire no longer slows players down when they walk through it (good for those playing gung-ho and Rambo style)
  • Fire can now be put out with smoke canisters. This is the biggest change, people! Players, from casual gamers to professionals, have ranted about fire being used to block off certain points and giving unfair advantages to certain teams on less-than-ideally balanced maps. Now that fire can be extinguished, chokepoints can no longer be turned into complete dead ends for several seconds.
  • Crouching more than 2 times successively will now result in a slowed-down crouch action. This is to prevent ‘crouch-spamming’ where some folks would constantly duck and stand to mess with the hitboxes of their character model.
  • Survivors from T-team that loses from running down the clock get no money while dead teammates will get their normal losing monetary amount. The whole T-team was supposed to not receive any money if there was at least one survivor, but Valve changed that in the second patch to restore the losing money award to dead teammates.

The second update basically took care of the last item in the list above, while removing a weird vignette effect when viewing the scoreboard, improve smoke particles and visibility on the edges of smoke as well as take away a weird ‘muffled gong’ sound that would play at the start and end of each game (No idea why that was added in the first place).

That’s a pretty decent set of welcome changes and we expect this to be the first of many much-anticipated changes as Valve continues to improve game balance (which is critical since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be played at big gaming conventions and tournaments) and is expected to release new maps in the future.

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