In part 1, I discussed the universal changes and the map specific changes to Legacy and Grounded. In this part I will go over Plaza and Raid, followed by some of my thoughts on the 1.20.0 update. With the 1.21.0 beta update also out, I will go over some of the exciting new activities and tweaks.
Plaza, also a famously Coalition sided map received some edits. The biggest changes were the changes to B site. Crates are now penetrable and nowhere near as tall as they previously were. Most objects that were not penetrable such as the Trees made out of titanium (a piece of wood that was the most impenetrable object in all of Critical Ops) are now penetrable. The Van underneath House was replaced with 2 stalls and the stalls also received some editing. The headglitch position on B site was changed by adding a wall to block the headglitch. It still seems like a viable area to play, just not as strong as before without the crouch/uncrouch peek potential. A Long received minor changes that allow the Breach to travel further up the alley before being spotted. In all, not many changes but it does feel like the Breach got more in their favor with this map. Port did not receive changes anywhere near the level of the other maps. The biggest change to the map was the crates which are now wallbangable in several spots.
This is a newer map that has seemed somewhat balanced, so the lack of changes in comparison to the other maps does not surprise me and I think that it is for the better.
Raid, on the other hand, received a handful of additions and revisions despite its somewhat recent addition to the game. A site had a few edits that seem to support the Coalition/CT side by providing more viable places to play. Raid has always been a Breach sided map since its release, so there's no surprise there. B site also received some interesting changes in terms of places to play which should help balance out the power of Heaven. Lighting changes give the map a new feel and the boiler area was mirrored to change the entrance/exit from the B Long side. Object penetration is also huge on this map and it seems that most crates and cover are now somewhat penetrable. This map feels like a Coalition/CT buff, although there are changes for the Breach/T side as well. I think Critical Force did a great job with this map in particular and I look forward to seeing how the changes affect the meta on this map. Canals, one of the original 3 also had quite a bit of modification. All the stairs are now accessible which should be interesting for both sides. The crates on bomb sites have been replaced, making Coalition positioning tougher especially with the object penetration that will help the Breach get onto site much more easily. Café was changed slightly, which is, in my opinion, one of the only changes benefiting the Coalition/CT side in this update. The changes to the crates offer different positioning for the Coalition, but not enough for it to be an advantage when you consider that the crates they are given are easily wallbangable. Object penetration is the main change to this map, which seems to make the Breach much more powerful on both sites.
In conclusion, it looks like Critical Force's main goal with this update was balancing the meta and creating a more competitive match. The Coalition side has been the overwhelming favorite for teams on the older maps (Plaza, Canals, Legacy, Bureau, Grounded) and that's why we see some nerfs and changes to support the Breach. Combine this update with the edits to the economy, and it looks like the Breach may have a much stronger chance at winning rounds than what we saw 6 months ago. Allowing the Breach the ability to buy weapons and utility quicker and more often, while also limiting the strength of positions held by the Coalition, make the game a lot less complicated on the attacking side. Getting onto site should be much easier on the older maps, while Raid (which is probably the only Breach favoring map besides perhaps Port), was edited to make the Coalition stronger. It is my opinion that Critical Force has done well in listening to the community, keeping an eye on the competitive scene in recent months, and getting a good look into what needs to be changed to provide a more balanced experience. This update looks VERY SOLID and this should shake up the competitive scene while teams try to solve the puzzle and put themselves in the best possible position to win. I think we'll see the need for additional changes once the dust settles and a new meta emerges, but I believe that this was a great way to set the tone with the ending of the first Critical Ops Circuit and the revival of the Competitive Scene. Good job Critical Force Developers!
The 1.21.0 Critical Ops beta update is out, along with the patch notes. This update comes with a much smaller amount of baggage than 1.20.0 but still packs a punch in terms of content related to the game. The smaller changes include the incentives (in-game currency/items) that players can earn by inviting their friends to play Critical Ops, which is a good way to get more Active Daily Users. Critical Force developers also tweaked the Settings menu, creating visuals and making the UI more user friendly. Included in the UI change was a brand fire button icon on the HUD. Beta 1.21.0 includes bigger additions such as the HANGAR map, which looks fantastic and can be viewed on the patch notes website (link below). This map is for an Event, but it will join the map pool following the end of the said event. The event is said to be Team Deathmatch and will be available in the custom games menu. SKULLHUNTER is also a new mode that was added to the game in this beta update, which brings in some interesting changes to player models and side dynamics. What I mean by this is that the SKULLHUNTER mode is a Free For All (FFA) mode, where all players are essentially on The Breach, yet can damage each other nonetheless. Does this mean that Friendly Fire will soon be considered to be added to the game? It’s certainly possible, although not very popular with the professional players I’ve spoken to thus far. The FFA game mode itself will be interesting, as many have asked for this type of mode for a while. Critical Force has stated that they have reworked the tools within the game, allowing them to “prototype and expand gameplay possibilities inside C-OPS”. Update 1.21.0 is a much smaller update for sure, but it still has a lot to look forward to and I know that I am excited to see where they go with these prototypes!