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Why CS:GO Operation Shattered Web is a huge disappointment

Valve's CS:GO Operation Shattered Web season pass was a welcome surprise back in November last year, but repetitive missions, lack of content and poor pricing has left a sour aftertaste.

Counter Strike’s latest operation Shattered Web has an unacceptable lack of content, while features they have provided were either half-baked or mostly from previous operations.  

For a game which pulls in massive amounts of money for Valve with a huge active player base, it feels like they’re taking advantage of the community’s craving for fresh content, while simultaneously failing to deliver compared to the rest of the industry.  

Almost every major title which features a battle pass is light-years ahead of Operation Shattered Web in terms of content, and is almost always cheaper too.  So where did Operation Shattered Web go wrong? 

Presentation

In hindsight, the presentation of Shattered Web was very telling. In their announcement blog post, it was clear this Operation was mostly about the skins.  

The introductions of Agent skins went horribly wrong from the outset. Following release, they were immediately banned from every tournament organizer and have undergone multiple adjustments to ensure they don’t give players an unfair advantage in-game.  

The announcement on the blog states: "For the first time in CS:GO, bring your favorite character into battle with all-new equippable agents. Earn rewards featuring the new agents, all-new weapon collections, stickers, graffiti, and more through a new battle pass format.” 

There is zero mention about any new additions to the actual game at the start. They show off the new agents further down the post which is fair because they’re likely a big moneymaker, but the first ‘gameplay’ feature they show off is the End-of-Match Accolades, which basically just tells you the same information as the scoreboard.  

CS:GO Shattered Web
Shattered Web arrived in November last year (Picture: Valve) 

The blog post later shows off four different skin collections as well as a graffiti and sticker collection where you can see each skin and their rarity. Two of the skin collections are for maps St. Marc and Canals, while they also added the Norse collection and the standard ‘Shattered Web Case’ that comes with every operation.  

It isn’t until the very bottom of the website they finally show the missions and the three brand new maps. Only the flying scoutsman map, Lunacy, was made by Valve while new Danger Zone map, Jungle, and the casual map, Studio, were both community made.  

The presentation of Shattered Web from the outset felt like a quick skin cash-grab.  

In comparison, the recently released Rainbow Six Siege battle pass encourages you to play the game and makes an effort to create new content. With 50 rewards and progression tiers, you advance through the battle pass from the moment you start playing; with battle points earned for accomplishments like finishing games, winning rounds, and passing challenges.  

Rainbow Six Siege’s introduction to their monthly battle pass is presented much better than CS:GO’s in literally every way. It immediately encourages players to play the game and it advertises the new skins and game modes they have. The battle pass doesn’t even last for a third of the time that Operation Shattered Web does, and has almost twice the in-game content. 

The Campaign

Week one of the Operation Shattered Web battle pass was actually quite good. Unfortunately, every other week seemed to be an afterthought.  

The Campaign mission which took place during the first week was really fun. Players played a cooperative mission where they had to infiltrate a Phoenix Laboratory on a modified version of the Danger Zone map Sirocco. To Valve’s credit, it was a neat change of pace and it was just challenging enough not to be too difficult but a fun experience.  

However 14 weeks later, that was all we got. If it was a bi-weekly game mode, Operation Shattered Web would not be under the same level of scrutiny. However, the fact this hasn’t happened adds to the feeling players were misled. It’s also important to note after you activate the battle pass, you cannot refund it. The only thing mildly resembling the Virus Outbreak mission was the Guardian game mode.  

Missions

CS:GO Lunacy map
Lunacy was the only new map from Valve themselves (Picture: Valve) 

Essentially, the missions suck. They are incredibly boring and repetitive. The worst part is you cannot complete two missions in one game. The majority of missions are “Get X amount of kills on Y Map with Z weapon” and nothing else. The missions are more tedious than challenging, and soon become stale when the majority of them are just killing other players. 

The Guardian missions are the exact same formula but on a single-player game mode. Unfortunately, the usual issues with bots caused some missions to be very difficult or pathetically easy depending on the map and gun. It also became abundantly clear some maps like Canals and Office were not intended for this game mode, with a variety of issues for each non-active duty map.  

Cap on Progress 

The underlying issue Operation Shattered Web has is completing missions feels unrewarding. After the first week, the maximum amount of stars you can earn per week is set to six. Each mission is worth anywhere between one to three stars depending on difficulty or time required to complete each mission.  

The weekly cap of how many stars you can earn completely ruins the point of this operation. The only sense of reward the player feels is the five cent graffiti or skin you immediately sell on the steam market. If you complete any of the other tedious missions after you get six stars, the only reward is five years off your life and some bonus XP for their unrewarding level system, which nobody pays much attention to.  

The operation challenge coin’s center does change after you complete a certain amount of missions. There isn’t any emphasis on completing the missions nor the operation coin as a sign of achievement though, instead it just shows up in your inventory when you complete the requirements and nothing else. In fact, that is what happens with every reward you get with Operation Shattered Web.  

Skins and Rewards

Compared to other battle passes out there, Operation Shattered Web is by far one of the most expensive. It costs $14.99 USD compared to the roughly $10 USD price point across games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.  

Shattered Web, however, does offer something almost no other game does; selling skins back. With this, there’s a good chance players will make their money back if they complete the weekly missions.  

This function however doesn’t excuse the lack of effort put into Operation Shattered Web, with the amount of time taken to complete missions massively outweighing the reward. Coupled with the repetitive missions and no guarantee of receiving your money back, the whole package doesn’t feel worth the investment.  

The 16 week duration probably amplifies the issue as players get more time to witness the lack of content Valve provides with this operation. It feels like Shattered Web was just another set of steam achievements but with item drops.  

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