After weeks of teasing, it finally happened: CSGO has just released a new operation, offering players new cosmetics, missions, and a new shorter competitive game mode for players that just don’t feel like playing a full 30 round match. Let’s take a first look at the most important changes that Operation Riptide brings to the game!
Gameplay Changes and New Content:
Players can now select the desired match length when they search for a competitive game. The choice is between a short or a long game. Selecting a short game shortens the number of rounds from 16 rounds to win to 9 rounds to win, which should make games significantly shorter and faster-paced. This also mixes up the way CSGO is played and will have players rethink the way they play CSGO. It will be especially interesting to see the economy in this game mode. This feature was requested by many players, so seeing it implemented is much appreciated. Thanks, Valve!
Another new feature is the private queue system. You can now search matches with a group of friends and play internal matches this way. The match will be hosted on official valve servers. You can either form groups beforehand or let the matchmaking create random teams. This makes third-party solutions for internal games with your friends basically obsolete. This feature is also available for Steam groups, so you can create internal matches in a Steam group.
The new team-deathmatch game modes also look extremely promising. Instead of the regular classic death match, you can now also select a team vs team deathmatch and a free for all. Especially the free for all should be nice for a quick warm-up and is a great addition to the game.
For casual hostage rescue, a new item has been introduced: The riot shield. It can now be purchased by the CTs as a heavy weapon and is likely meant to test out how well this behaves in a "normal" hostage game. Though hostage rescue is not that often played, this still brings something new and exciting to that game mode.
Another thing that can't be missing from an operation is new maps. This operation features 5 new maps to be played. These are Insertion II, Basalt, County, Ravine, and Extraction. Basalt and Insertion II are both maps for competitive play, while Extraction and Ravine are maps for the Wingman mode. County is a new map for the Dangerzone mode. All of these maps look promising, though only time will tell how good they are in actual play. There is a lot of new things to explore though! Especially Insertion II adds an interesting twist to the way CSGO matches are played. As a CT, you need to choose one of four insertion points. This adds a whole new layer of tactics to the game and will be exciting to try out!
Grenades are now also droppable in most game modes, which means that they can be shared with your teammates. This opens up a plethora of new options for tactical team play and we are excited to see all of the new ways this will be used in professional but also casual play.
CSGO has also seen some balancing changes, including a buff to the M4A1-S and a slight nerf to the Desert Eagle on body shots. And maybe the most important change: The classic layouts of Dust II got changed so that mid is no longer visible from the T spawn. To say it with the words of the CSGO dev team: “Really!” We couldn’t believe it either, but take a look:
The new operation also has missions that allow you to earn a total of 100 stars over the duration of the operation, with new missions for the first 16 weeks of the operation. You can also spend money and buy stars, though this will not level up your operation coin. The operation stars can be spent on a lot of new skins and stickers, which we will take a look at next.
New operations bring new bling-bling for your guns and new agent skins. This operation is already a strong contender for introducing the best operation skins so far. Let's take a look at what is new and the highlights from each new collection. This time there are 5 new collections for weapon skins with additional new stickers, patches and agent skins.
The Riptide Case is the operation case and has 17 community-made skins. The highlights in this case are the super flashy Desert Eagle Ocean Drive, the covert AK-47 Leet Museo, and the amazingly looking Mag-7 BI83 Spectrum. The Ocean Drive Desert Eagle brings a very bright skin to one of the most used pistols in the game, though it might be a bit too flashy for some. The AK-47 Leet Museo was originally called the Pablo and is a homage to Pablo Picasso’s work. This skin takes the classic Leet Crew T’s and puts them in the bizarro world of Pablo Picasso’s paintings. This skin is a real masterpiece. The Mag-7 made this list for its very nice and shiny effect, while still remaining unpainted in a lot of parts. This contrast fits this gun quite well and creates one of the nicest skins for the Mag-7 so far.
For rare special items, the Gamma Doppler finishes are finally back! This means new emerald knives will be available soon.
The train collection has got its successor. While it isn’t clear if the old Train collection has been removed from the game, this does appear quite likely. The new 2021 Train collection introduces 17 partially Valve-made and partially community-made skins, with some of them being all-time classics applied to different guns. The new M4A4 The Coalition is the first covert M4A4 skin from an operation and features a nice golden look. The Glock Gamma Doppler will be available in all of the gamma doppler phases, which means that this is the first weapon skin that comes with different phases and with the emerald gemstone finish. This system of phases was only applied to knives before, so this is a first for gun skins. All of the other skins in this collection also look decent to great, so this collection has a lot of potentially great skins to use. And the best part: These skins will likely be relatively cheap! Make sure to read on to find out why!
The Mirage 2021 collection introduces another covert operation AWP, the AWP Desert Hydra. This skin looks like a mix between the AWP Gungnir, the AWP Medusa, and the AWP Dragon Lore. This is a strong contender to be one of the most expensive skins in the game. The classified Desert Eagle Fennec Fox is also a beautiful and very colorful skin with a lovely artsy theme. This operation seems to be a bit weaker with the overall skin quality compared to the Train 2021 collection.
Dust 2 2021:
With the brand new 2021 Dust 2 collection, Valve has finally done it: CSGO now has a golden AK skin. The AK-47 Gold Arabesque is the first fully gold-plated skin in CSGO and goes against Valve’s policy of no golden skins. This opens the door for a lot of similar skins in the future. The UMP Fade will from this collection is another highlight, as it expands the collection of available fade skins. If this continues, a full Fade loadout will be possible in a few years. The Mac-10 Case Hardened also has the potential to be a great skin with blue-gems available.
The last of the 4 new collections is the 2021 Vertigo collection, which includes a construction site themed M4A1-S, the M4A1-S Imminent Danger, a new addition to the family of laminate AKs, the brand-new AK-47 Green Laminate, and a lot of other skins. This collection seems to be relatively lackluster though. Most of the items are a bit lame, so we don’t see this becoming a fan favorite any time soon. But this is not a big surprise, as the original Vertigo collection also did not have too many well-liked skins.
Agents, Stickers, and Patches:
A lot of new Agent skins, stickers, and patches with an ocean theme have also been introduced. While there are no new must-haves in those collections, these items are still a nice addition and offer some nice new customization options. Especially the frogman CT skins add something new and unique to the look of the operators. the
A New Way To Get Operation Rewards:
Valve has introduced a new way to receive operation rewards with this operation, but this only applies to the Train 2021 collection for now. You can spend a total of 100 operation stars to receive a guaranteed covert skin drop, 20 stars for a classified skin, 4 stars for a restricted skin, and 1 star for a mil-spec skin. This means that for the first time ever, you can get a guaranteed covert skin from this operation. In the last operation, you were also able to spend 4 stars on a specific collection, but the drop was entirely random. This change does not apply to the other 3 new collections though, those seem to be in the old style of random drops for 4 operation stars. With this in mind, the 2021 Train skins will likely be relatively cheap while stile offering amazing looks. And with the Glock Gamma Doppler Emerald being part of this collection, spending 100 stars on the covert drop might not even be such a bad idea.
Operation Riptide seems to offer a lot of new opportunities to complete missions, try out new maps, and receive new and amazing-looking skins. As with all CSGO operations before, some of the rewards are randomized, so you'll have to gamble for some of the best skins. With the new drop system for train, everyone has the chance to receive a covert skin though, which feels like a great change by Valve. There is a lot to explore in the new operation, so give it a try yourself. The operation pass is available for $15 or 12,75€ and lasts until the 20th of February 2022, with new missions for the first 16 weeks.