The change that most people saw coming affected the Tec-9. The powerful sidearm is known for its high level of accuracy—even when a player is mobile—and its large clip sizes, which allow for indiscriminate firing.
As with the CZ-75 before it, the Tec-9 has become the dominant pistol in the game. Many fans and players alike have requested that it be toned down. And recent tournaments have emphasized this, as some teams have heavily modified their approach to buying weapons and equipment solely to take better advantage of the Tec-9’s power.
But the changes made to the Tec-9 weren’t as significant as most expected. The number of bullets in each clip was reduced to 24, still more than enough for a player to spray wildly at will in trying to take down an opponent. The larger change is likely that of a drop-off in damage at greater ranges, further emphasizing the Tec-9 as a close-range weapon. Time will tell if this is enough to scale back the extreme effectiveness of the sidearm.
Much less expected was a big change to the AWP, Counter-Strike’s signature sniper rifle. Both the AWP and the auto-sniper weapons now force players to move much more slowly while looking through the scope. The effect of this change is that peeking around a corner or out of cover is a much slower process than before.
This slowing effect gives a major advantage to a sniper who holds a stationary position opposite another, moving sniper—or to any player wielding an unscoped weapon and peeking out at greater speed than the sloth-like sniper. This may be enough to bring about great change in the playstyles of the more aggressive and flashy snipers in the game who make a living pushing aggressively with the deadly rifle.
It may also further push the balance of the game towards the defending Counter-Terrorist side at a time when the balance between attackers and defenders is being questioned.
This imbalance is the reason behind long-standing map Nuke being pushed out of the competitive rotation and into the inactive pool. It has been replaced by the redesigned version of Train, an old map that got a rework similar to what Valve has surely in store for Nuke.
The new version of Train has been heavily reworked to provide a cleaner and more balanced version of the classic map. The Fragbite Masters league has already committed to using it, and other organizations are likely to follow now that Valve has made the change official.
Other changes include a slight increase in price for the silenced M4A1, meant to help balance its use with the unsilenced M4A4, and a general increase in accuracy for the MP7, MP9, and Mac-10 submachine guns.
Screengrab via adreN_TV/YouTube