As CSGO’s Operation Hydra ends, comes a new wave of changes. From new game-modes, map pools and updated matchmaking, there’s plenty of features for players new and old to enjoy.

When announcing that the Operation would be extended until November 13, it was also announced that the Operation’s most played maps and game-modes would live on. And now Wingman and War Games are here to stay.

Available Wingman maps

Wingman is the 2v2 bomb defusal mode featuring cut down maps that made its debut during the Operation. Now this quick lightning paced mode is available permanently for all. Wingman has now been updated with its own ranking system similar to that found in Competitive and finally players can lock in their favourite maps.

War Games

War Games is actually a series of modes that put twists on already established ones like Casual, Demolition and Deathmatch. It brought 6 different games, each with their own set of rules. Some like Headshots Only and The Flying Scoutsman were a variation of popular community server mods. Out of these 6 only The Flying Scoutsman mode was kept and would be joined with CSGO staples Arms Race and Demolition.

The new Competitive line up

Changes have also been made to the Competitive map pool. Some of the least played maps such as Italy, Assault, and Office have now been removed. Yes. It’s actually happening. Classic Counter-Strike maps are now being removed. But why?” I hear you wonder. Well as Valve states “The Competitive Matchmaking map pool previously contained every map in CS:GO, making it difficult for new or recently updated maps to stand out among the crowd of available options and generating poor matches as a result. To address these problems, the least-played maps will no longer be featured in official Competitive Matchmaking.containing every map in CSGO makes it “it difficult for new or recently updated maps to stand out among the crowd of available options and generating poor matches as a result”. With that in mind the popular Competitive Operation map, Agency, to the current pool and as Valve promises “Over time, promising new or updated maps will enter the map pool, and less played maps will continue to be removed”.

Casual map groups

The Casual map pool has also received a similar treatment with the least played maps being replaced with Operation favourites Austria, Shipped, Agency and Insertion. Furthermore maps within Casual have been split into different groups: Defusal Group Delta, Defusal Group Sigma, Hostage Group and Dust 2. Just as with the Competitive map pool, the Casual map pool and map groups will be updated over time based on player metrics.

Another change brought to the table is for the matchmaking system – Trust Factor. Trust Factor is the new standard for for competitive matchmaking and will now take precedence over the previous Prime system, though players can still opt to use it if they so desire. Unlike Prime which only factored in one variable in matchmaking, an account’s Prime status, Trust Factor incorporates a whole number of variables related to both CSGO and your Steam account. Although Valve hasn’t explicitly stated what variables are accounted for, players can expect that being a positive member of the CSGO and Steam community will help. More info on the Trust Factor system can be found in the F.A.Q. here.

Overall these are some refreshing changes for the game, one that might be needed to help bring players back. Although the update bodes a sad farewell for some of Counter-Strike’s iconic maps, some sacrifices must be made for the sake of progress. Full notes on the update can be found on the official blog post here.

Video game and film enthusiast. Studying a Bachelor of Communications in Media Arts and Production along with International Studies at UTS. I play games in any genre, but mainly focus on CSGO and Tekken. I’m a fighting game aficionado and have met top players from both the Street Fighter and Tekken scenes. My other hobbies include reading, anime and learning the occasional song on guitar.