Why Are Things So Sad with CS:GO Maps?


A very controversial topic that can really upset some of the community’s more conservative members. CS:GO maps are a very sensitive matter. The majority of them haven’t been changed for a long time now, and over these twenty years, give or take, we’ve grown used to the well-established meta.

Now and then, Valve just rearrange the maps, relegating unwanted ones to be revised. But it’s already become pretty tiresome.

Maps frozen in time

First of all, I need to tell you what was the spur for me to finish this article since it’s been on the shelves for about a year now. Back in the day, I was shocked by the Apex Legends situation. The game was released in January 2019 and initially featured just one map, Kings Canyon — which is pretty normal for battle royale games. 

However, it wasn’t six months later that many people began to complain that the game had only one map and was therefore boring to play. By comparison: PUBG, which appeared on Steam in March 2017, only got a new map, Miramar, in December the same year. And yet very few people made complaints along the lines of “it’s boring to play, we need a new map, boohoo.”

In Fortnite, the map always stayed the same, and Epic Games just modified it — the community didn’t complain either. But if I’m wrong, you can correct me on this account in the comments.

As to CS:GO, it’s had its well-established map meta for millions of years now, ever since the game was released. Dust 2, Cobblestone, Mirage, Inferno, Overpass, Nuke, Train, Cache, and others.

Whenever developers try to introduce something new, like Vertigo, everyone immediately starts yelling that the map sucks (and they’re right too), and the game needs a revision of the old maps. On the one hand, reviving old maps is a good idea, but on the other, it’s a sign of a creative crisis.

Walt Disney once said: “I don’t believe in sequels. I can’t follow popular cycles. I have to move on to new things.” I wonder what he would say about remakes. And here’s where we need to be clear about what a Valve-style remake is.

Valve ways to remade

Let’s take Dust 2, the most balanced map in the game, where the attack and defense sides are in the same position (well, maybe the CTs are in a slightly better position as they just need to hold their ground).  

Dust 2 only underwent cosmetic changes: the map was made brighter, a bit more light was added into the tunnel, a bunch of ridiculous barrels were placed, steps were introduced on mid for some unknown reason, and the textures were improved.

Tactical changes were fewer: the corner on the short, the wooden doors returned, the box made higher, and… that’s it. s1mple, stanislaw, k0nfig, and other top players were outraged about the redesign, pointing out the absurdity of the changes and their confusion about the “revision.” 

As for Cache, it was simply made greener and received a window on mid. How do you like this kind of change? Anyone here remember the map Cobblestone? That’s where Dragon Lore originated from. In 2018, it was relegated for a redesign, and since then, nothing has been heard about it somehow.

The Good, the New and the Beautiful

However, you can run it in CS:GO, and incidentally, there are really many important changes there: improved lighting (they seem to have a fetish for light) and many positional updates, but mostly, spots were just closed or changed. Still, because of these small changes, the map started to look different.

Remaking maps is a dubious enterprise for a developer that demonstrates a lack of ideas for development and simple laziness on their part. Yet there have been some attempts to change this narrative: namely, the map Season, which, despite it wasn’t new, originating as it did from CS:Source, looked like something new and fresh in CS:GO.

Each new operation that was released featured new, yet-unseen maps, which include: Bazzar, Facade, Mist, Overgrown, Chinatown, Gwailor, Ruins, and other curios maps. You can google them and see what they look like. Spoiler alert: awesome. And even though they won’t be suitable for competitive CS:GO right away, they can be tweaked a bit so that they can liven up the competitive side of the game. 

Of course, you can change maps every year or two — it’s the ideal interval that would provide pro players, coaches, and analysts alike with the ability to thoroughly study the maps, learn all the nade throws and other game nuances.

Players would at least enjoy some diversity in competitive play. Many are already tired from playing Inferno, Train, Nuke, and other such maps year in year out. After all, these maps are older than many CS:GO players. 

Two bad issues

There are two really bad issues about this idea. First, Valve have shown over the past few years that they are unbelievably lazy and won’t change anything — the long-standing bug with coaches is a case in point.

It’s hard to imagine what has to happen for the developers to try and galvanize the game. They aren’t even particularly bothered by the release of Valorant, despite that many players leave Counter-Strike for the new shooter, seeing no further prospects for the former.

Second, the players themselves may take it personally: they are so used to this stagnation now that they’re simply afraid to accept any change. Earlier, I cited the example of Vertigo, and even though the map truly leaves much to be desired, it’s still a change. Vertigo could’ve been a completely different map, better optimized and perfectly polished, but the community would’ve hated it regardless — there’s no doubting that.

I must say I am a very big CS:GO fan who wants the game to evolve. However, now, our favorite tactical shooter has turned into an algorithm, where every grenade throw is well-known, every spot has been scrutinized long ago, and it’s the team that can perform every trick by the book without a hitch that wins.

Counter-Strike is not just about shooting: it’s also unreal smokes, flashbangs, and players’ clever decisions that should impress. Yet at the moment, we’re looking at ultra-tough shootouts between ultra-tough guys, just like in a generic battle royale shooter.




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