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Counter-Strike 2 adds armor and helmet skins, are they pay-to-win?

cs2 funny skins

Counter-Strike 2 is giving players more ways to deck out their character, including the ability to add skins to their grenades, kevlar, helmet, and much more.

Skins are a big part of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experience. While almost every major multiplayer game on the market has skins, no game has them as deeply woven into the experience as CSGO. Valve has likely reaped hundreds of millions of dollars from this, but the company isn’t just sitting on its laurels.

CS2 is coming soon and will give players the ability to put skins on essentially everything. This might be welcome news for collectors, but it has some interesting implications for the actual gameplay as well.

Cs2 Loadout

CS2 set to add skins for grenades, kevlar, and defuse kits

Counter-Strike 2 will let players equip skins to almost everything they can purchase during a match. While players can customize their character with agent skins and gloves and purchase skins for their guns and knife, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The CS2 loadout screen has slots that suggest players will be able to add skins to nine more types of items. This includes all five types of grenades, defuse kits, and the Zeus. Alongside this are slots for body armor and the body armor and helmet. Data miners sifted through the code for the loadout screen and confirmed that these inventory slots were programmed in a way similar to gloves and agent skins.

It is unknown if grenade, armor, or defuse kit skins will be available in CS2 at launch.

Grenade and Zeus skins have been expected for some time now. Valve added the ability to inspect grenades while they’re equipped in June 2023. Each grenade has a regular and a rare animation, similar to how inspecting the Desert Eagle works.

Cs2 Grenade Inspect

Defuse kit skins are more of a surprise, but make sense as a skin. Not only could kits be recolored, but the satchel could easily become an accessory.

The most curious thing is introducing kevlar skins, and having them separate from the kevlar and helmet combo. Many of the CSGO agent skins have their own unique torso and headwear that wouldn’t work with another skin being added. It’s possible that sweeping changes could come to agent skin designs, or Valve could take a different approach.

Will new CS2 skins be pay-to-win?

CS2 skins may have pay-to-win or pay-to-lose elements. While Valve has generally done a good job of avoiding the introduction of pay-to-win elements to its multiplayer games, it hasn’t been perfect. 

The initial batch of agent skins in CSGO is among the most egregious examples of this. Multiple agent skins served as camouflage on certain maps, something that required Valve to both redesign the skins and remove props and decorative elements from multiple maps. These likely weren’t deliberate attempts to give a competitive advantage to players who owned skins, but it still had this effect.

If players have greater customizability of their character, finding combinations of skins that serve as camouflage in certain locations is inevitable. The question is whether Valve will be able to combat this or if players will simply need to pay up to have an edge.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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