Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s latest patch revealed some of Broken Fang’s upcoming missions and gave players a reason to save their bonus XP tokens when it added CSGO’s 2021 Service Medal.
Players are about to get a whole host of new maps for CSGO’s new Retake mode and had the future of Operation Broken Fang outlined. But the most important part of the patch was what everyone who plays CSGO doesn’t know they want until they see it. CSGO’s Service Medals are a way for players to show off just how much time they’ve spent in CSGO over the past year, and the December 17 patch added CSGO’s 2021 Service Medals to the shooter.
Valve showed off a screenshot of the medal, in a snazzy black, but that was only the first out of six medals available to players starting January 1. CSGO’s Service Medals are awarded to players who level their accounts from level one to level 50 during the year. Once accounts hit the cap, players are given the option to trade in that level 50 rank for a CSGO Service Medal. It’s similar to Call of Duty’s prestige system, but with no perks to save and its weapons available to everyone, ranking down from level 50 to level one is only a cosmetic change.
Each rank of the medal requires players to play enough games to hit level 50 before the process starts all over again as CSGO’s most passionate fans strive for the highest level possible. With the graphical improvements and behind-the-scenes work Valve has done on CSGO since last year’s Shattered Web, 2021’s CSGO Service Medals look fantastic. 2021’s Service Medals start as a dull gray and cap out at a crimson red. In between are green, purple, pink, and blue medals.
CSGO players can now purchase weapons for their teammates through their buy men instead of throwing guns around at the beginning of the round. The change is both welcome and will likely go unused. Even though a decade has passed since the release of Counter-Strike 1.6, players still hold onto many of the game’s old superstitions like quick-switching weapons and keeping their eye on the bomb when it explodes. This means that players will still probably throw AWPs in hopes of it reaching a teammate.
To clarify, holding left CTRL while buying a weapon will drop the weapon forward in-game, similar to how dropping weapons currently works.
— CS:GO (@CSGO) December 18, 2020
Luckily, Valve’s implementation still has weapons flying across the map. The new feature allows a player to hold down a key when they purchase to have them keep their current weapon while sending the newly purchased weapon flying forward. Left-control is the default modifier and like all of CSGO’s new setting options, players can find a shortcut to the quickdrop key under CSGO’s “New Settings” page.
But on the other hand, Valve’s addition of a Valorant feature means that not only is the software giant taking notice of where Valorant has improved on CSGO’s formula, but it’s also actively trying to stay ahead of the rival tactical shooter. Operations are limited-time events, and for years CSGO saw little in the way of new features or game modes. With a little pressure from Valorant, or maybe a larger project staff, CSGO will continue to see these going forward.
For the past several years, the vast majority of Valve was tied up developing Half-Life: Alyx. With the game now released, Valve’s employees can work on whichever project they want. CSGO was something that senior Valve game designer and programmer Robin Walker mentioned repeatedly in a podcast when discussing where Alyx developers would work on next. Old habits die hard, but that doesn’t mean Valve won’t try to lure young Valorant players back to its more realistic competitive shooter.