In the Counter-Strike series, balance is something that’s been refined for decades. But even in one and the same game, there were a number of patches that completely reshaped the meta. CS.MONEY is here to look back at the four biggest changes to balance in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Changes in Economy
For a long time, there was a “rule” in the game: whoever wins the pistol round, wins two further rounds. It came about for a reason. Five years ago, winning the first round provided the team with a huge advantage and greatly increased the odds of achieving a 3:0 advantage.
The devs tried to reduce the importance of pistol rounds by boosting some guns like the TEC-9, but it didn’t quite work out. To deal with this “snowball problem” after winning the pistol round, Valve had to change the economic system of the game.
The patch with the change came out in 2019, and it fixed two global problems with the game’s economy at once: pistols and resets. After the patch, losing a pistol round was no longer such a huge problem. From this moment on, the losing team received $500 more than before. That was just enough for a force buy.
To get rid of resets (a situation where a team wins after several lost rounds and then loses again, thus also losing the money bonuses after a loss), a counter was introduced. The counter can be found by opening the scoreboard during the match. From then on, the outsider team didn’t lose all bonuses after winning a round but simply got a one-step setback.
The change to the economy can be considered the most important patch in the history of the game. It sizeably reduced the importance of the first round and raised the intensity throughout the match.
CZ75-Auto Added to the Game
For a long time, all guns in CS were semi-automatic. You want to shoot, you press the button. The more often you press it, the faster you shoot. Simple rules — yet pistols were always worse than any automatic weapon because of them.
In February 2014, everything changed: the CZ75-Auto was added to the game. This Czech pistol was the first automatic pistol in the game (and so far remains the only one). Its impact on the meta cannot be overestimated. In fact, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive now featured a “pocket M4” for 300 bucks!
That’s right, immediately after the CZ75-Auto was added to the game, it shared a slot with the P250. And it was only six months later that Valve realized it was better to sell this kind of gun for 500 dollars. Then, the CZ75-Auto was modified several more times, receiving a reduced magazine size and an increased recoil, but for its price, the gun is still the most formidable weapon in the right hands.
For a long time, submachine guns remained in the shadow of rifles. Professional teams preferred to save up a little and buy a rifle, and casual players followed suit. For example, at the ESL One Katowice 2015 Major, about 1 frag out of 100 was made with a UMP-45, while the Galil AR and FAMAS made every fourteenth kill at the tournament.
After that Major, the UMP-45 began its rise to the top of the meta. After a year, more enemies were killed with the submachine gun than with the Galil AR and FAMAS combined. It turned out, the UMP is great against unarmored enemies and quite good at penetrating a Kevlar, pretty accurate both on the run and while standing, and on top of all that, it costs almost half as much as the cheapest rifles and brings twice as much money per frag.
Eventually, it completely displaced the cheap rifles from the meta. In May 2017, the dev team stopped this madness. The new update significantly reduced the UMP-45’s damage at a distance, causing it to quickly leave the meta. Currently, almost no one plays with this gun, preferring the MAC-10 or MP-9 instead.
The Rise & Fall of the AUG/SG 553
“That gun from Call of Duty,” “the noob gun” — the community invented all kinds of names for the AUG and SG 553. Playing with these rifles was considered a shame. Why are you overpaying for a gun when there are the great AK-47 and M4 all the pros use? The dev team was probably guided by the same thoughts when they lowered the price of the scope rifles.
In October 2018, a patch came out that decreased the price of both rifles. After it, they were only fifty bucks more expensive than the aforementioned AK-47. At first, no one paid any attention to this. But then, the whole of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was transformed.
Both rifles with scopes turned out to have significant advantages over the “default” guns. The first one is — you guessed it right — the scope, which proved to be very useful at a distance. Second, the rifles handled armor better. Third, their recoil was easier to control.
This is how in just a few months, the guns whose existence had been consistently denied by the community for two decades, became the kings of the meta. By the end of February 2019, AUG killed more people than both M4s.
Valve realized it was time to save the meta and revoked the price change. Nothing changed. Players realized that the AUG and SG 553 weren’t “noob guns” but rather the ultimate instruments of annihilation. The devs then fixed the situation with a full-scale nerf of both guns: their accuracy and rate of fire were decreased. Now, everything is familiar again in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: there are the AK, the M4, the AWP — and a bunch of other rifles that are too situational.
And what balance change do you consider the most significant? Share your opinion in the comments and don’t forget to give us a like under this post!