May saw the release of seven updates for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. One of them brought us the map Ancient, and half of the remaining six were adjustments to this map. The CS.MONEY blog is here to take a look at the new battlefield after a month of fixes.
Issues of Ancient
Before we make that before-v.-after comparison, let’s deal with the new map. It has three global problems. The first is its hideous textures. The green agents blend in with the green background, and those square stones don’t stand out against other square stones.
The second: poor optimization. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is becoming more and more demanding year by year. That’s a given. And in many ways, this growth is associated with the release of new or updated maps. Nuke, Train, Inferno – new versions of these maps decreased the FPS value on weak computers.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Ancient was no exception. Playing on this map with the hardware listed on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Steam page is absolutely impossible. Of course, players with 2 GB of RAM are an overwhelming minority now: less than 0.33%. Still, the new map is a resource-devouring monster.
The third one, Ancient, was a real mess at the release. Texture holes, sound bugs, random drops from 400 to 14 FPS. And don’t forget that Valve included this map in the competitive set! It will soon be played by pros — and already is played in regular matchmaking.
The first changes were introduced to the map when it was added to the competitive set. Kudos to Valve. The company clearly took into account their mistakes with the Train update.
A Site is a vivid example of this. In the old version of the map, it consisted of a box and… that was it. Now, there are new exits, a couple of boxes, and a small plateau in the corner. Bottom line: the gameplay has become exciting here.
A month after its appearance in the game, Ancient has been polished and optimized twice. One time, the devs also corrected the picture on the radar.
As part of the polishing process, the defense and attack spawn locations were changed, the birdsong was made quieter, and the greenery was trimmed. Optimization wasn’t fruitless either. Depending on the configuration, FPS has increased by 30-70% on Ancient.
What didn’t change?
After a month of polishing, the map Ancient still has a bunch of problems. And some of them are deeply rooted. The first one is the color palette. The creators of the map apparently wanted to make it look like a ruin excavation site in South America. Quite an interesting style.
The urge to “make it pretty” went too far. The map is very green and contains a lot of small details. On top of that comes the strong contrast between the lit-up street areas and the semi-darkness of the rooms. Visually, the map isn’t well-thought-out.
Another problem is the corridors. Ancient squeezes the player into the narrow frames of small rooms and cramped spaces. A whole layer of gameplay is lost as a result. Remember the olofboost on Overpass? Yeah, it was against the rules, but the very ability to pull a stunt like that is cool. Overpass still has plenty of space for tricks like that. On the current version of Ancient, that kind of variety is fundamentally impossible.
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After the changes on Dust 2, the huge amount of relatively closed rooms is surprising as well. Practice has shown that “opening the sky” doesn’t turn the map into unplayable garbage. On the contrary, matches only get more interesting at any level of play. Perhaps in the near future Valve will pull the same trick again and open the sky for throws.
Ancient a week after its renovation
After a month of polishing and optimization, the map is still below the standards of competitive play. Poor optimization, bugs, questionable layout decisions, and an overly green color scheme make Ancient a mediocre map, not a potential hit.
Valve has already shown a willingness to work on maps. Vertigo was added to the game in 2012 and is still being finalized. And the map has been in the tournament map pool for years! Maybe Ancient will slowly but surely make its way to the top and become a worthy substitute for Train.
In the meantime, all we can say is that Ancient is already better than it was at the beginning of May. It’s already been included in BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 and IEM Summer 2021. Very soon, we’ll be able to see it in action at the professional level. And most likely, the first matches will be as hectic as those on Vertigo.