CS2 Call to Arms Update: First Major Content Drop

CS2 Call to Arms Update: First Major Content Drop

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Valve unleashed the first major content update for Counter-Strike 2 (CS2), entitled “A Call to Arms,” on Feb. 7, 2024, and we’ve compiled all the highlights you need to know about before your next session. 

Let’s take a look at all the exciting additions in this massive CS2 update, including Arms Race CS2 game mode, returning maps, cosmetic items, significant gameplay changes, and many fixes.

You can also visit our CS2 betting page to see how these changes impact the upcoming major esports events or head over to our CS2 betting guide to start your betting journey. 

Arms Race Is Back

The most exciting feature in the first major CS2 update is the Arms Race game mode! Previously classified as a “wargame” in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), the Arms Race mode returns in all its glory.

The premise is simple: 12 players compete with unlimited respawns. Every player starts with the same Auto Sniper Rifle, then the AWP, then assault rifles, and so forth, making their way through 15 CS2 guns. A CS2 player in Arms Race must get two kills with a weapon to move on to the next. For example, you must get two kills with the Auto Sniper Rifle to move onto the AWP.

The 16th weapon is the golden knife. The first player to get a kill with the golden knife wins. There is no buy menu or cash awarded for getting kills. Instead, players progress through the 15 weapon levels without being hindered by money management. The Arms Race mode has a 10-minute time limit in CS2, and you can hamper another player’s progress by killing them with a regular knife or the Zeus x27.

Arms Race is only available on two CS2 maps: Baggage and Shoots.

Two Maps Return: Baggage & Shoots

Valve has remade two popular maps, Baggage and Shoots, in the Source 2 engine, which means players can enjoy Arms Race to their heart’s content. Both Baggage and Shoots are symmetrical maps, allowing identical spawns and providing no clear advantage for any player.

These maps were created explicitly for Arms Race matches and look fantastic in CS2. Shoots features a design that leans towards a Vietnam theme, while Baggage makes an Airport your playground. The goal is balance and fairness, and with the fast-paced nature of the Arms Race, Shoots and Baggage work wonderfully well.

CS2 Gameplay Changes

There are various minor gameplay changes in the update, including a “Refund All” button in the buy menu, smoother sliding, and a setting that allows you to disable first-person bullet tracers. Let’s discuss the CS2 gameplay changes that can impact the meta below.

Peeker’s Advantage Reduced

For the uninitiated, the “peeker” is the player who peeks out from cover first, around a corner, or strafes into the enemy’s line of sight. In CS2, “peeking” is fast, and the pros often “peek” for just a few milliseconds to spot an enemy player and call out their position.

With this significant CS2 update, Valve has reduced the peeker’s advantage, a change you may have easily missed under the “networking” portion of the patch notes:

  • Reduced peeker’s advantage in many cases.
  • The amount of peeker’s advantage in the steady state is reduced by 16ms.
  • Also reduced the frequency of situations that lead to very large peeker’s advantage due to excessive command queue depth.

How can this peeker’s advantage reduction impact the meta? Players may peek less under certain circumstances. For example, some may use Flash or Smoke grenades more often to secure a position change instead of peeking to determine if an enemy is nearby.

Importantly, Valve noted that there are “various adjustments to sub-tick shooting,” with no additional details available at the time of writing.

Smokes Cast Shadows

Valve has made a significant change to Smoke Grenades in CS2: the reactive Smokes now cast shadows! Plus, the animation and rendering of CS2 Smokes were improved. Less than 24 hours following the major update, Valve released a small CS2 patch with “Various bug fixes and tweaks” for Smokes, including a one-way window smoke exploit on Mirage.

CS2 Zeus x27 Changes

It is noteworthy that Zeus x27 is now reusable in all game modes after a 30-second delay. We could see more players using this weapon moving forward. Valve also adjusted the first-person model position and added support for applying name tags and stickers to Zeus. Lastly, it received its first weapon skin/finish, Olympus, which you can find in the Kilowatt Case.

New CS2 Skins, Stickers & Music Kits

A large portion of the CS2 community loves, above all else, cosmetics. From weapon skins/finishes to Stickers and even Music Kits, there’s no shortage in this update. Let’s look at the cosmetic highlights, starting with the biggest change.

Custom Sticker Placement

Instead of just having a few preset positions on each gun, CS2 players can drag and drop their Stickers and place them wherever they like. You can even rotate Stickers now, creating endless possibilities for the creative masterminds. All guns/weapons can also now hold up to five Stickers.

Kilowatt Case & Kukri Knife

The Kilowatt Case (Container Series #393) is the first-ever weapon skin case for CS2. It features 17 community-designed weapon finishes/skins, including the first Zeus x27 skin. As a rare special item, the Kilowatt Case also features the new Kukri Knife—the first new Counter-Strike Knife since Operation Shattered Web in 2019.

Stickers & Music Kits

You can now purchase the brand-new Ambush Sticker Capsule, with 21 community-created Stickers, as well as the NIGHTMODE Music Kit Box (six new Music Kits) via the in-game CS2 store.

XP Overload Icon

Those who have maxed out their regular weekly XP earn and are currently in a reduced XP gain state will now see an XP Overload icon next to their name, on the kill feed, and on the scoreboard. If you keep your XP gain streak, your XP Overload icon will upgrade.

What Else Is New In CS2?

If you want to know more about this first big update to CS2, you can read through the complete patch notes. Even better, you can catch some of the update in action by checking out some fantastic clips and images via the official A Call to Arms page.

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Written byTHP

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