When it comes to updates and development, the pandemic definitely impacted Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Players haven’t seen many major updates in the game besides the latest operation, and professional figures are starting to ask for changes too. Especifically, changes to CSGO’s map pool.
It’s not hard to understand why though. It has been two years since Vertigo was added to CSGO’s competitive pool. Yet, there’s no clear signs that Valve has a new map planned so far, which is disappointing, to say the least.
With the pandemic and an astounding number of online events, CSGO is starting to feel stagnated. Let’s understand the current situation below.
CSGO map pool never went so much time without a change
In the past, Valve did their best to keep CSGO competitive map pool, called “Active-Duty Group”, fresh and familiar. In order to achieve that, the team at Valve did minor changes to all maps constantly, and removed a map while adding other yearly.
Train was the first map removed back in 2014, replaced with Cache. A year later, it was Nuke going out, while a fully remade Train came back. Then, Inferno was gone, and a new Nuke returned. The cycle went on and on.
This is, until March 2019. Then, Valve announced that Cobblestone would be going out, and in its place, Vertigo would be the new map in its place. Since that change, CSGO active map pool have stayed the same.
An imperfect pool
It’s impossible for any game to have a perfect competitive map pool. No matter how much a developer tries, there’s always going to be at least one map that is not loved as much as others by the community.
The current CSGO competitive map pool is no different. However, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the current iteration of the map pool isn’t one of the best.
Vertigo still is one of the most criticized maps in the game. Players are starting to complain about Mirage, the game oldest map, being too old for its own good, making it stale. Overpass, and even Train aren’t exempt from those criticisms, either.
Overall, when it comes to quality, these maps currently being played competitively are definitely the best. Valve has worked non-stop for years to make them as bugless and as competitive-friendly as possible, after all.
However, its undeniably that you can find faults on most of them. Be it because of its layout, like Vertigo, because of its age, like Mirage, or even because it’s just overplayed, like Inferno.
Community maps are better than ever
It’s hard to find a more dedicated and gifted community than CSGO’s. Thanks to fans, players can casually play various different maps made by the community itself, some that have been featured in CSGO even.
There’s all kind of maps available, too. Some are very ambitious projects, such as Cache’s creator “Subzero”. Others, like “Ancient” and “Anubis” are made with competitive play in mind, and they could work very well on such environment.
In the last few years, Valve has been giving more opportunities to map makers to show their creations officially. While this is a great move, Valve has yet to select one of these to be added to the competitive map pool.
So, while the pandemic might’ve halted Valve plans to refresh the pool by themselves, there’s no excuses for not updating it with a community work. There’s a seemingly never-ending list of maps that could qualify for the position to the point it’s sad to see so much potential wasted in the Steam Workshop.
Missing an opportunity
Again, the pandemic certainly played a part in the current lack of new maps from Valve. However, it also presented a great opportunity that the developers mostly missed, but aren’t too late to take advantage of.
The pandemic saw CSGO hit record player counts. It also saw no Valve-sponsored events. This means that Valve could’ve worked with tournament organizers in order to experiment new maps in professional play.
Introducing experimental and community-made maps could’ve done wonders for the community. After all, one of the biggest positives around Vertigo’s introduction was that it was so different, and took many teams out of their comfort zones to try new things.
During the past year, such experiments should’ve been made. It would have allowed Valve to gather invaluable feedback, while also avoiding CSGO pro scene from getting too stale to the casual public. As FPX’s STYKO said on a tweet, there’s still time to do a smaller experiment, though.
When can we expect a new map?
Right now, it’s impossible to say. Fans have found clues regarding a possible Overpass remake recently. In the past years, clues about a Mirage remake have also been found hidden in game updates.
However, Valve next step regarding CSGO competitive maps is unknown. The next CSGO Major is set to kick off in October. Will Valve wait until the Major ends to do changes? Also, which maps could be replaced? Will Vertigo go, or will Valve update CSGO oldest map?
There’s much we have yet to know, but one thing is certain: CSGO needs additions to the Active Duty Pool now. So, to make sure you don’t miss a beat about upcoming updates and esports, make sure to follow us!