Nick J. December 10, 2019
When Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players are throwing snowballs more than they're throwing smoke grenades, it's officially December in CSGO.
Valve released the annual holiday patch on December 9, and it's filled with everything that a Counter-Strike holiday update is usually filled with a few small exceptions.
The map's chickens have their Christmas sweaters on once again, it's snowing in the main menu, and there are piles of snowballs stacked around the map in casual game modes like Arms Race, Flying Scoutsman and Demolition.
Throwing a snowball at an opposing player does slight damage and covers their vision, giving them a small but useful tactical use.
Luckily, it looks like the developers have avoided the "snowball problem" discovered last summer. Earlier this year, a bug allowed players to purchase snowballs in Counter-Strike's ranked playlists, including Competitive, Wingman and Danger Zone matches by using a console command. The developers quickly patched the bug.
No more holiday bomb skin in CSGO
Another change from last year's event is the bomb, at least in competitive modes. While last year the bomb was wrapped like a present with a tag that read "CTs" on it, the bomb is its usual old self this year. It could be a trend from Valve towards how they believe they're viewed from the outside. In a game about terrorists and counter-terrorists, wrapping a bomb in wrapping paper could be seen as poor taste.
Valve looks like they're making the game more inclusive as part of a larger marketing push, the loss of the competitive skin makes sense. Although there's nothing to stop the software giant from releasing "The Bomb Case" closer to Christmas.
Additionally, last year saw a winter version of the CSGO map Militia. Even though there were no new maps in this patch, players shouldn't rule out a winterized version sometime later in the month.
CSGO patch reveals all six 2020 Service Medals
Each year, players that gain enough XP to reach profile level 40 are given the option to upgrade their service medal, a small icon that sits next to the players in the scoreboard and on their Counter-Strike Global Offensive profile.
The way it works is similar to Call of Duty's prestige system, althou only the profile level is reset in CSGO's version. For some, chasing these medals is a huge part of their CSGO fandom, and everyone got their first look at the six 2020 service medals with the December 9 update.
The silver star in the top left is the rank one service medal, and the bottom right red edition is rank six. Players will have to level their accounts to level 40 six times in order to upgrade and claim the red star.
Finally, fans should expect some holiday-themed Shattered Web missions around Christmas time. While there haven't been any hints that Valve plans to have missions themed around the holiday time, it's not out of the question that players will have to throw a fair number of snowballs at least one week during Shattered Web.