Counter-Strike 2 looks noob friendly – and that’s great news

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If you ever chat with a seasoned CSGO player, you might find them a little bit cocky. But after sinking thousands of hours into the Valve FPS game myself, I can’t blame them. Mastering Counter-Strike is a grueling mission that demands blood, sweat, and tears. But now, with Counter-Strike 2 approaching, it feels like that may change for the better. Based on the CS2 limited test, the new version of the super-tough shooter seems much more noob friendly, and though that might cause some rankles initially, actually, it’s a very, very good thing.

Players have always loved CSGO for its esports value, simplicity, and legacy, but green players always found it a bit intimidating. Those who dared to dive headfirst into CSGO would give up quickly as they ladder up and competition gets real. On the flip side, CS2 can potentially attract and retain FPS rookies, which is excellent for Valve’s business and esports.

With the exception of the last few months, when CS2 hype has pushed it to new heights, CSGO’s peak player count has remained relatively level. The game hits 1.3 million, drops down again, then slowly reclimbs without ever significantly surpassing its previous record. That’s because the higher ranks of CSGO are strictly for the veterans familiar with the game’s ins and outs.

The steep learning curve ultimately stands in the way of CSGO gaining a large number of new and inexperienced players. Valve itself concedes that CSGO takes minutes to understand and a lifetime to master, which is why new players have a tough time sticking around. With a beginner-friendly approach, however, more players are likely to remain in CS2 and improve over time. This will allow the iconic FPS to create new records and regain its title as the dominant PC shooter.

The consequences of degrading the learning curve are small compared to the potential benefits. It’ll attract more players, spur exciting competitions, and contribute to esports’ overall growth. Previously, CSGO’s complex gunplay was the main roadblock for players. But the new features in CS2 tackle all the core issues that intimidate the newbs.

Is CS2 really noob-friendly?

You don’t need to take my word for it – when you look at CS2’s new and improved features, it’s clear the next version of Valve’s shooter is more noob-friendly.

Valorant borrows from CSGO’s essence, so in return, CS2 is taking a page from Riot’s book: The sound radar. In ancient times (before CS2), players had to invest in the choicest headsets to avoid missteps, and pick up on reload sounds, the audio cues of smoke grenades, and basically every little chirp in the game. Sound radar will allow players to roam freely without holding onto the tin-can telephone.

CS2 offers a mini-map ring that pulsates, alerting players of how far they can be heard. In CS, sound can make or break the game, and adding an assistant on the screen will greatly help.

Next, the head hitboxes in CS2 are increased by 4-20 percent, making whiffed head clicks a thing of the past. Don’t ask me how many times I thought I was aiming at heads in CSGO, and the bullets just rifted past. Coupled with tick-rate changes, shooting feels comparatively smoother, allowing the newbs to adapt to gunplay quickly. You can see a comparison of headshot hitboxes in this image from Twitter user ‘Ansimist’:

Counter-Strike 2 looks noob friendly - and that’s great news: An image comparing the hitbox in Valve FPS games CSGO and CS2
Valve discussed smokes in the trailer but skipped over a big detail: the CT and T-sided smokes. It’s now possible to tell between the enemy’s utility and the teammate, allowing players to make fewer mistakes. Color markers are not essential for experienced CSGO players to distinguish between smokes, but their inclusion now helps newcomers avoid errors.

Finally, follow recoil, a new setting that will release players from the burden of learning spray patterns. This is by far the biggest beginner-friendly feature to change Counter-Strike gunplay. In CS2, newbs won’t have to follow the decade-long tradition of meticulous recoil controls.

Instead, they have a visual aid in the form of follow recoil, an additional crosshair that shows where each bullet is head, based on kickback and weapon spray. Just follow the marker, and voila, you can score a kill. Of course, mastering recoil control through practice remains crucial for higher-level play, but it’s no longer mandatory that you learn every intricate aspect of Counter-Strike recoil before even having a chance competitively.

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CS2’s new features may seem noob-friendly, but don’t be fooled. The changes primarily affect the game’s learning curve, making it easier for new players to adapt. In CS2, Valve has taken on a more hands-on approach. The benefits of CS2 are universal. New players can enjoy and level up in CS2, the game thrives with a larger player base, and seasoned veterans can have a bigger competition. If Valve plays its cards right with its upcoming FPS release, CS2 could really shake things up, not just for players but the company itself.

If you’re also new to FPS and want to dive into CS2, you may want to learn how to use new responsive Counter-Strike 2 smoke grenades.  You can also catch up on everything we know about the incoming Counter-Strike 2 release date, which hopefully arrives sooner rather than later.

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