If you’ve overslept the last couple of updates to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you might find it weird that now there are more varied characters in CSGO, visible during online matches. Are these mods, or some kind of server overhauls? Or a way to discriminate the best players? None of the above, really. Operation Shattered Web brought in agent skins and it looks like they’re here to stay for now.
Similarily to weapon skins, now agent skins can be dropped from a case, right now only available in the Operation Shattered Web case. Using them influences how you appear in-game. There are agents for both Terrorist and CTs with a hierarchical degree of uniqueness – in the same color categories as guns, but with different titles.
Let’s look at special characters CSGO developers have put into the game at the end of the previous year and see if they are any good!
CSGO Characters explained
Operation Shattered Web started in November 2019 and added a lot of new content to the game – not only new weapon collections and maps, but also new characters. Those were presented as obtainable digital goods, just like weapon skins, so for the comfort of referring to them, they were called agent skins.
As of April 2020, there are 21 agent skins available – 10 for CTs and 11 for Terrorists. It’s almost sure that more will come with incoming mission operations. Agent skins come in rarities like weapon skins. They are – from the most common to the rarest – Distinguished, Exceptional, Superior and Master. The rarity has also some influence on quality and detail here. While the blue character skins are usually anonymous, the purple and pink ones have a defined identity, like discernable face features or even a suggested name of the character. Master agent skins are super-curated and even come with their own individual shoutouts recorded individually for each of them. What came as a shock was the introduction of a female character, a tomboy Agent Ava, one of the Master agent skins. What seems like such an obvious idea has met with a lot of mixed feelings from the users. Are CSGO players so afraid of ruining their man caves that they even dread taking on a female character?
Now that the Shattered Web missions are over, there are only two ways to get those character skins. One is to buy a Shattered Web Case from the market, open it with a key and hope to drop one of them, which would require a lot of luck. The other is to go straight to the Steam Community Market or some other third-party marketplace and buy them for money. At first they were not very expensive, but since you cannot get them as rewards from the operation anymore, their prices went up.
We’ve described the behavior and gameplay alterations that agent skin bring into CSGO in our introductory agent skins article published a while back. For more background information on specific characters go to the official Operation Shattered Web portal – https://counter-strike.net/shatteredweb
And they are an alternative to…?
Standard models. Before the Operation Shattered Web update, each map had a one type of terrorist and one type of CT affixed to it, with minor variations to the models, like having or not having a hat or a different skin tone.
The basic CT factions are:
- FBI, the American special investigation crew
- GIGN, French special unit
- SAS, the pride of UK prevention
- SEAL Team 6, the NAVY successor for an around-the-clock counter-terrorist unit, and
- SWAT, the go-to swipe team securing the safety of the United States of America.
The basic Terrorist factions are:
- Anarchists, the bad boys on the run to do havoc,
- Balkan, the Eastern-European fearmongers,
- Elite Crew, the villainous company of Mediterranean,
- Phoenix Connection, the masked organization specialized in urban attacks,
- Pirate, the oceanic xenophobic bandits,
- Professional, ruthless mercenaries with no agenda but financial gain, and
- Separatists, the movement behind the terror strikes in Northern Spain.
With new CSGO special characters you can override these standard models and use your preferred agent skin on every map.
Can you use new characters skins in all types of games?
For now, there are no restrictions on where and when you can use CSGO Steam characters for agents during casual, competitive or any other game mode. Some people raised their concerns about skins being less fair options for tournaments. This was caused by observations in the early days of Operation Shattered Web considering how SEAL skins blended in with grass and bushes on maps like Overpass. Valve has made some adjustments to both character skins and map textures, but it’s still raising some eyebrows in the pro community.
Either way, theses skins make the gameplay more personal. With the addition of patches in last month updates, now a player can construct their own persona within the game by bringing new motifs to a customisable agent skin. It’s not very likely that Valve will abandon an idea that lets players express themselves in-game just because some people are worried about the status quo.
These is some first-hand information on CSGO characters, agent skins and gameplay features. They started with Operation Shattered Web and it’s possible future events will bring more of them. We strongly recommend that you see for yourself how in CSGO all characters have their own place and don’t need to be a field of abuse for cheaters. In a world of very customisable online games, CSGO is finally getting its methods for players to express themselves during global matches.