It has been rumored to happen for years, but have proven to be correct as Valve has officially announced Counter-Strike 2 on their blog. Counter-Strike 2 will introduce a number of massive updates to the game and is set for a full release in the summer, with limited testing rolling out as of today.
CS2 will be a free update to CS:GO and will introduce a number of improvements, some of which have already been outlined by Valve.
Smoke grenades will get a complete overhaul in CS2, with smokes being affected by the environment. Smokes will naturally expand (and fill out crevices and so on) and will respond to lighting. The most important change for competitive players will be that smokes will change with grenade impacts and bullets flying through them, making them much more dynamic in-game.
No more 64 Tick
64 tick servers have long been the bane of CS:GO matchmaking system, with many competitive players playing on third party servers due to the fact that those servers have 128 tick servers. In short: the tickrate of a server determines how many times the server evaluates moving, shooting (i.e. player inputs) and other inputs in order to translate them to the game. On a 64-tick server, there are 64 ‘evaluation moments’ per second, on a 128 tick server there will be 128 evaluation moments. The higher the tickrate, the more responsive a server feels.
With CS2, Valve will introduce ‘sub-tick updates’, meaning that the server immediately registers any inputs , making the experience even smoother than playing on 128 tick servers. This will be a welcome addition for competitive players and it might eliminate the need to play on third party servers altogether, though it has to be said that matchmaking has also historically been a major reason for players to move towards third party services.
All CS:GO maps will receive a visual overhaul to make the game look more modern, and this will happen in three tiers. The ‘Touchstone Maps’ (such as Dust 2 and Mirage; iconic maps that have been around since forever) will only receive updates to the lighting while other maps will introduce new materials, lighting, and reflections. Older maps will be fully rebuilt from the ground up. In addition, player models as well as weapon models will receive a high-res overhaul in order to make the game look more modern.
Your Skins Will Transfer to CS2
Valve has confirmed that all of your player content (skins, stickers, graffiti, …) will transfer to Counter-Strike 2. No cosmetics will be lost in the switch, though there will obviously be (subtle) changes to how certain skins look in the new game engine.
As of today, Valve is rolling out a limited beta test for Counter-Strike 2. A select group of players will be able to test the game, and this group is based on a number of factors such as Trust Factor, Steam account standing, playing time on official servers, and so on. As of right now, the testing build only includes Dust 2.
Valve also has an FAQ on Counter-Strike 2’s limited testing.
How to Get a CS2 Beta Invite
If you are eligible to test Counter-Strike 2, you will get a popup in CS:GO’s main menu. Invites are seemingly given out at random, though Valve has mentioned that they are based on a variety of factors such as playing time and so on. There is currently no known way to boost your odds to get an invite, and invites are being rolled out continuously.
Counter-Strike 2 Release Date
Valve is planning to fully release Counter-Strike 2 to the world in the summer of 2023. An exact date hasn’t been confirmed as of yet.
We will update this article (as well as create new articles when necessary) as more news comes out, so stay tuned!