All About CS:GO Operations: Unique Skins, Maps, and Challenges
CS:GO is already history; a chapter in the development of the Counter-Strike series. But it has left a substantial heritage that was accumulated throughout its many operations. These DLCs — or rather, Battle Pass Seasons — offered players extra activities, which continued for a limited time. And they brought a lot of extra content, from new maps to unique skins.
These CS:GO operations remain viable in the improved version of the game, where you can enjoy updated Counter-Strike 2 features.
What Are Operations in CS:GO?
The comparison to Battle Pass Seasons seems to be the most accurate. Players buy a subscription and get access to unique content with unlockable rewards.
The general structure of operations in CS:GO was pretty much the same over the years. The developers highlighted top community maps and invited players to explore them and perform missions on them. The rewards were exclusive operation cases, skins, and items.
The structure evolved, though. The first ever CS:GO operation, Payback, did not have cases and item collections. Only four operations had campaigns. Some of these Battle Pass Seasons had special game modes. More details can be found in the operation descriptions below.
How Do CS:GO Operations Work?
After purchasing a seasonal pass, players get an Operation Coin, which is an Extraordinary Collectible item. Its first phase is bronze, but coins turn into Silver, Gold, and Diamond for reaching various goals, specific to each operation. The coins remain in the inventory and prove players’ achievements.
Operation-related activities vary from playing a specified amount of time on certain maps to completing daily missions and participating in story campaigns.
How Much Do CS:GO Operations Cost?
The price ranges from $2.00 to $14.99, with most operations in CS:GO available for $5.99.
Are CS:GO Operations Worth Buying?
Well, the answer certainly depends on your dedication to the game and your general budget.
CS:GO operations are great for fans, as they reward them for playing their favorite game. The cost of the rewards give a pretty big chance to cover the expense.
Many casual players are motivated to launch the game more often, train regularly, and explore various options within Counter-Strike. This alone makes the cost of an operation worth it.
If you don’t actually know whether you are going to play the game, you just risk wasting money. If this purchase may help you get “promoted” to the category of casuals or just build your personal opinion on what CS:GO (or CS2) is all about — yep, do it!
All CS:GO Operations
In this post on DMarket Blog, we would like to take a little trip down memory lane and remember all CS:GO operations in detail — with a focus on what remains from them now, in CS2.
April 25, 2013 – August 31, 2013
This was the first-ever CS:GO operation, and it feels somewhat basic and experimental, as if the developers wanted to check their idea.
Operation Payback highlighted seven community maps (three Bomb Defusal and four Hostage Rescue). Players had to spend 10 hours on them for a Silver Coin and 50 hours for a Gold Coin (playing Classic Casual mode).
September 19, 2013 – February 5, 2014
Initially, this operation included eight community maps, but with the Winter Offensive Update, players got two extra, developed by Valve (Cobblestone and Overpass). Only two of the maps were Hostage Rescue, so the main focus shifted towards Bomb Defusal as a more popular game scenario.
Operation Bravo introduced skins collections to Counter-Strike. Bravo collection skins were available to everyone through drops of the Operation Bravo Case. Alpha collection skins dropped only to Coin owners.
A Silver Coin required the same 10 hours of play on the maps but with five Competitive Wins. Time for a Gold Coin was decreased to 30 hours but with 10 Competitive Wins. The playable modes were expanded to Casual, Competitive, and Deathmatch modes.
We got a lot from Bravo in CS2 (perhaps even the most out of all CS:GO operations). Cache was one of the community maps, and it became official. Cobblestone and Overpass also remained in the game.
February 20, 2014 – June 11, 2014
Phoenix was rather similar to Bravo — no changes to the Coin progression, and eight maps (but four for each scenario).
The Operation Phoenix case initially dropped only for those who purchased the pass. There were no skins collections released.
July 1, 2014 – October 2, 2014
Unique CS:GO skins were the main focus of Breakout. The operation introduced four collections: Baggage, Cobblestone, Overpass, and Cache. It also had the Operation Breakout case. Significant changes came to the Coin progression. It was based on the number of completed missions: five for Silver and 10 for Gold. Completing the missions was a way to get random skins.
There were six maps (four with Bomb Defusal scenarios).
November 11, 2014 – March 31, 2015
Vanguard had seven maps, with five being Bomb Defusal. One of them is certainly a heritage map for CS2: Train.
Coin progression was based on stars (three for Silver and four for Gold). The stars could be obtained from completing campaign missions. So, Vanguard was the first CS:GO operation with campaigns: Vanguard, Weapons Specialist, Maghreb, and Eurasia Theater.
May 26, 2015 – September 30, 2015
The structure of campaigns changed in Bloodhound, introducing story lines in Marksman and Revolution campaigns. Players could get exclusive drops for ranking up. The number of stars for getting better Coins increased to nine for Silver and 14 for Gold. But also, there were more ways to get them, thanks to new mission types (Guardian and Assassination). Bloodhound had six general maps, but only one for Hostage Rescue. One extra map was dedicated to the Guardian co-op.
Skins Cobblestone, Cache, and Overpass collections were available for drops again. New items were from the Gods and Monsters, The Rising Sun, and Chop Shop collections. The case name is rather unusual: Falchion.
February 17, 2016 – July 15, 2016
One of the maps in this operation is worth special attention — it’s an improved version of Nuke (yep, this is certainly a heritage for CS2). In total, there were nine maps, with one being Hostage Rescue, one co-op, and seven Bomb Defusal.
The Coin system did not change. Stars could be obtained from the missions of two campaigns: Gemini and Wildfire.
May 23, 2017 – November 13, 2017
Hydra is among important CS:GO operations, as it introduced three new game modes: War Games, Wingman, and Weapons Expert. Players could earn special XP and get item drops for this. There were nine maps, with two Hostage Rescue, five Bomb Defusal, one Wingman, and one Flying Scoutsman.
Quite a big change happened with Coins gradation — players got a Diamond Coin (five stars for Silver, 18 stars for Gold, and 25 stars for Diamond). The Hydra campaign was another story-based one.
Operation Shattered Web
November 18, 2019 – March 30, 2020
Shattered Web had only three maps, but each was of a different scenario: Bomb Defusal, Danger Zone (Battle Royale mode), and Flying Scoutsman.
The reward system of this operation was more similar to Battle Pass than any other—players got something for reaching various numbers of stars. And those rewards included a then-unique addition to Counter-Strike: Agents. (It’s nice to have this feature in CS2.)
There were no campaigns, and stars were given for completing missions on weekly cards. The Coins required 33 missions for Silver, 66 for Gold, and 100 for Diamond.
Item collections from Shattered Web are The Canals, The Norse, and The St. Marc. Notable skins from them are Nova | Baroque Orange (from The Canals), Desert Eagle | Emerald Jörmungandr (from the Norse), and MP9 | Wild Lily (from The St. Marc).
Operation Broken Fang
December 3, 2020 – May 3, 2021
The tradition of diversity in the map scenarios continued in Broken Fang. There were eight maps of five scenarios: two Bomb Defusal, two Wingman, two co-op, one Danger Zone, and one Hostage Rescue.
Players could obtain stars for completing weekly missions and then choose what they wanted to spend these stars on: Agents, cases, graffiti, etc. The cost of Coins remained unchanged (including Diamond). New game modes were Retake and Broken Fang Premier.
The operation introduced three new collections: The Havoc, The Control, and The Ancient. Among interesting skins in there, we can name AWP | Silk Tiger (from The Havoc), Five-SeveN | Berries And Cherries (from The Control), and USP-S | Ancient Visions (from The Ancient).
September 21, 2021 – February 21, 2022
This is obviously the last one among CS:GO operations, as we move to Counter-Strike 2.
Riptide had five maps of four scenarios: two Wingman, one Bomb Defusal, one Hostage Rescue, and one Danger Zone. The Coins again required the same amount of stars (up to Diamond). The system of earning and spending stars makes Riptide similar to Broken Fang. New game modes were Short Competitive, Private Competitive, FFA Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch, Item-wise, this operation had a great impact (even on CS2). It re-introduced some classic collections; their names start with the year: 2021 Train, 2021 Mirage, 2021 Dust II, and 2021 Vertigo. Some remarkable skins from them are USP-S | Whiteout (from 2021 Train), Desert Eagle | Fennec Fox (from 2021 Mirage), M4A4 | Red DDPAT (from 2021 Dust II), and Five-SeveN | Fall Hazard (from 2021 Vertigo).
Looking through all CS:GO operations has made us especially excited about Counter-Strike 2 at DMarket. What amazing adventures have the developers prepared for the new game? Let’s wait and see! CS2 has the same prime status, so we could expect a similar approach to operations.
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