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Everything we know about Counter Strike 2: Tick rate, smoke grenades, map changes, and more

Discover everything we know about Counter Strike 2

What's the latest news about Counter Strike 2? FPS fans rejoice: Counter Strike 2 is official, and it's coming this year. It's serving as a major revamp of the beloved CS:GO, with map overhauls, a reworked approach to tick rate, fancy new smoke grenade tech, and lots more to look forward to. Much of this is because Counter Strike 2 will shift onto the Source 2 engine, which was previously used for VR bestest best Half Life: Alyx.

Since Counter Strike 2 has just entered its Limited Test phase and will not publicly launch until the Summer, details are still emerging. Fortunately, Valve have released a full FAQ and some handy videos to break down some of the key features of Counter Strike 2. So, read on for everything we know about Counter Strike 2, including gameplay details about the new smoke grenade tech, info on the tick rate changes, what we know about map revamps, whether your CS:GO items will carry over, and more.

Counter Strike 2 release window

Counter Strike 2 will launch Summer 2023, but a specific release date has not been confirmed. Of course, some lucky players may have access to the beta, which allows them to play right now!

Valve say that access to the beta is based on the following criteria:

  • Steam account standing
  • Trust factor
  • Recent playtime on Valve official servers in CS:GO

More invites will roll out in the coming months, but beware. Valve have said that the final requirement only takes into account playtime before the announcement of Counter Strike 2, so no amount of bingeing now will help you gain access.

Fortunately, those with access are able to stream and make videos showing Counter Strike 2, so you'll be able to see plenty of gameplay across the web.

Counter Strike 2 will be a free upgrade to CS:GO, which itself is already free-to-play on Steam. For now, it's only slated for PC, and there's no news on whether it'll come to consoles later down the line.

Counter Strike 2 tick rate changes

One of the major changes in Counter Strike 2 is that it'll introduce "sub-tick updates". Valve say that sub-tick updates mean that "tick rate no longer matters for moving, shooting, or throwing". That's a rather bold statement, there.

Tick rate, which refers to how often the server updates to reflect in-game actions such as moving and shooting, is highly important in FPS games. A higher tick rate is better, as it means more updates. More updates means those actions are reflected in-game faster, which can help combat peeker's advantage. A peeker's advantage refers to the advantage that someone may have on a low tick rate server when they round a corner, as they'll see the enemy on the other side first.

With sub-tick updates, Counter Strike 2's servers will instantly reflect when you shoot, move, or throw something in-game. This removes the waiting time for those actions between ticks that was present in CS:GO (in which official servers were 64hz), and therefore should make it all feel much fairer when competing online.

Counter Strike 2 responsive smokes

Smoke grenades are very, very important in Counter Strike. They're used to block lines of sight and help teams push around the map, and knowing how to throw a smoke into the perfect location could be the difference between winning and losing a game.

In Counter Strike 2, smoke grenades are changing in a big way. The smoke created will interact with the environment, bending around objects and filling tighter spaces. If used in a tight corridor, for example, the smoke will grow to cover the entire space.

The smoke is also far more dynamic than the more static version present in CS:GO. In Counter Strike 2, smoke can be split using bullets, revealing lines of sight through the cloud that you can use to spot enemies.

You can also blast chunks of smoke away using grenades, removing what would've been a key safety net for your opponents as they moved through the map.

Counter Strike 2 map changes: Overhaul, Upgrade, and Touchstone maps

Many maps will receive changes in Counter Strike 2, and Valve have defined these changes using the following three categories: Overhaul, Upgrade, and Touchstone.

Overhauled maps, such as Overpass, are built from scratch using Source 2, with the old, flat textures of CS:GO replaced by gorgeous, vibrant scenery. The maps themselves are mostly the same, perhaps with a few extra objects scattered around, but the textures should seem far better thanks to the improved Source 2 rendering.

Upgraded maps also make use of the improved rendering and lighting of the Source 2 engine, but they have not been built from scratch. You should see less gameplay changes here, but the visual improvements will be notable, with "realistic materials, lighting, and reflections".

Touchstone maps are the least affected by the move to Source 2, with the maps themselves staying almost identical to the original. Even the textures are seemingly staying the same, with the only change being the new Source 2 lighting. This is the approach for classic maps, such as Dust2.

Do items carry over from CS:GO to Counter Strike 2?

Yes, items carry over from CS:GO to Counter Strike 2. According to the official Counter Strike 2 website, you can "bring your entire CS:GO inventory with you to Counter-Strike 2".

That means all of those knives, gun skins, and anything else that you've collected over the past decade on CS:GO will be available from launch in Counter Strike 2. They'll also look nice and fancy thanks to the Source 2 lighting improvements, so you'll literally see them in a whole new light.

That wraps up everything that we know about Counter Strike 2. There are still a few months before we reach that Summer release window, but make sure to check back nearer launch for more news on Counter Strike 2.

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Hayden Hefford

Guides Writer

Hayden is a guides writer for RPS, having joined the team in September 2021 after a few months of freelancing for TheGamer. They're a big fan of survival games, especially those that focus on the undead. Zombies. Walkers. Shamblers. Whatever you call them, Hayden is definitely a fan.

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