It’s been absent from the competitive scene and even the broader world of matchmaking for years. But as of this afternoon, Valve has reintroduced one of the most iconic maps back into the CSGO rotation: de_nuke.
Like a lot of the classic CS maps, Nuke was always beset with one major problem: it was a fortress for defenders/counter-terrorists. Next to Train, it frequently generated the most one-sided half scores due to the vastly superior positions available to the CTs.
Even in CSGO, where the map was redesigned to include easier access to the underground area and the vents changed to allow for faster and more fluid access between sites, Nuke could be an utter nightmare for terrorists. Your team had to be well organised with timings and grenades to stand a chance of even entering a bomb site, and even then situation might still be a 2v2 or 3v3 after the first major fight.
It wasn’t fun. Professional teams hated it. Low level players in matchmaking hated it. Organisers didn’t enjoy it, because teams kept vetoing Nuke out of the rotation. So Valve pulled the map entirely.
Today, it’s back in Valve’s official rotation.
Let’s start with Bombsite A, commonly referred to as “top site” by many oldschoolers due to the fact that it’s the site that’s aboveground. The area in the rafters above the squeaky door has been cramped to make that area a more attractive attack point for Terrorists, while the silos (where you’d traditionally plant the bomb on, or around) have been shifted back to give Terrorists more cover from the ladder immediately above (called Heaven).
Bombsite B, the bottom site, has gotten a substantial rework too. “The route from Tunnels to the lower site has been re-introduced through a new Decontamination room (or ‘Decon’),” Valve wrote on the landing page. “Toxic storage has been moved toward Ramp Room, giving defending T’s more lines of sight on the bomb target. The plantable area has been expanded, and includes the space on top of the target canister.”
It takes longer to get between the bombsites now through the vents, but the tradeoff is that it’s also easier for terrorists to defend the bomb once it’s planted. But perhaps one of the biggest changes is the reworking of the outside area, with the catwalk being extended from the CT side of the map all the way over to the silo on the Terrorist side of the map.
But just because it’s a big, bright patch doesn’t mean the community is happy. For one, AMD users are reporting substantial problems just keeping the game open for any longer than 5 to 10 minutes. Users with the latest AMD cards appear to be having a much better time — R9 390, 390X et al — but if you’ve got an older card, you’ve been warned.
Users have also reported seeing a return of the classic alt-tab bug, where smoke grenades suddenly vanish on a players screen after alt-tabbing to the desktop. Others added that they didn’t even have to do anything for the smokes to vanish entirely, a bug that will no doubt get fixed before too long.
The map also has a series of areas where the bomb can get stuck. Valve will undoubtedly correct some of those bugs in due course, although for now it might discourage leagues — particularly major ones, such as the ESL/ESEA Pro League, the upcoming televised Eleague and the Valve-sponsored majors — from adding Nuke to the map pools.
The changes have also affected the map’s performance, with fans confirming an overall FPS drop regardless of specs. The same thing happened when de_train was updated, however, and it would be weird for Valve to not optimise the map over the coming months (particularly for those on laptops or low-spec PCs).
All in all, the return of Nuke brings the promise of more variety in competitive Counter-Strike. That said, Valve’s track record over the last six months of patching and updating things for the better has been fairly sketchy: fans haven’t forgotten the farce that was the introduction of the R9 Revolver, and they’re still upset about the minimal to zero communication from Valve before, during and after updates are released.