A game like CS:GO goes through several changes over the span of a year. Bug fixes, balance changes, new content, and general improvements are implemented through various patches.

While 2021 may have felt like quite a slow year for CS:GO, Valve has updated the game quite significantly. Join us as we take a look at the most significant changes.

No more bots in matchmaking

Valve started the year by reworking how CS:GO deals with players leaving a match. While you used to get a bot playing on your team, this update made it so you had to continue playing down a man.

A couple of weeks later, they added the shorthanded loser income, which gives teams extra money if they lose a player.

The best of Broken Fang stays in the game

Source: Valve

CS:GO’s operations are an ideal way to test out some new gameplay features. With Broken Fang, Valve introduced Premier Matchmaking, where players had to pick and ban the maps they wanted to play on.

360 stats and retakes also remained in the main game, while Ancient was added to the official map pool.

The end of XP-farming

When CS:GO became free to play, players could get a Prime account through playing enough games and gaining experience.

But this free route to Prime status created a negaqtive trend: players farming XP while staying AFK in games.

Valve removed this from the game, as non-prime accounts could no longer earn XP, ranks, skill groups, item drops, or Prime status through playtime.

A new operation

Source: Valve

Yearly operations are here to stay. A year after Broken Fang, Valve released operation Riptide. With the operation came the usual collections, challenges, and a case.

Valve used the operation to pay homage to French Gendarmerie lieutenant Arnaud Beltrame. Beltrame traded places with hostages during the 2018 terrorist attacks in France. He was murdered soon after.

Along with the operation, Valve introduced short matchmaking. Players now have the option to play an MR16 game instead of an MR30.

Dropping nades

Perhaps the most significant change to CS:GO in the past few years. A month before the PGL Stockholm Major, Valve made nades droppable to teammates.

The change was critiqued by pro players for its timing but has slowly shifted the meta in play. We are yet to see the new mechanic used to its full potential, but teams will have had plenty of time to search for innovations after the player break.


With its high base damage, the Deagle had wreaked havoc on eco rounds for years. At close range, players could kill an opponent with just two shots to the chest. Valve lowered the damage output of the pistol, and while some still argue this isn’t enough, it’s a step in the right direction.

Valve also gave some love to the M4A1-S. The small buff to the CT rifle was enough to make it the most popular choice on defense.

Various bug and exploit fixes

Source: u/TamerCarp37

– Pings no longer highlight players. This eliminates any instances of being able to reveal a hidden enemy.

– Fixed a bug that allowed enemy players to spawn outside of their spawn location.

– Fixed a bug where water footstep sounds would emit from spectating players’ death locations.

The best change, that most players didn’t notice

It’s hard for the CS:GO community to agree on anything. People want changes to the game, but the changes Valve makes are always received by a lot of criticism.

But one change everyone can get behind, occurred back in September. The maximum cooldown period for griefers was increased from 1 day to 14 days. Good job Valve, get those filthy griefers out of my game.

While Josse van Dessel covers a variety of topics ranging from FIFA esports competitions to professional chess matches, his greatest emphasis is on the world of Counter-Strike, where he covers the title's biggest events and its latest roster moves. Josse also covers local market news in his native Netherlands.