Counter-Strike Players Are Sceptical Of The Game’s New Map

Counter-Strike Players Are Sceptical Of The Game’s New Map

Yesterday, Counter-Strike received its first new Valve-developed map in quite some time. It’s called Canals, and it’s based on a (conspicuously unnamed) “historic Italian city” that is definitely Venice. The initial reaction, however, has not exactly been love at first sight.

Canals, you see, is not a typical CSGO map. It’s got multiple weird routes to the B bomb site for both teams, and the site itself is dangerously enclosed. The A site, meanwhile, is almost the polar opposite: open and surrounded by cover. Many, however, feel like Canals is a poorly balanced first draft, rather than a polished execution of something new. For example, players like DrakePHOSE have pointed out that the terrorist team can reach the B bomb site too quickly, in a way that can deny the counter-terrorist team of precious preparation time:

Other players, like Cruxal, have taken issue with how exposed CTs are on the fastest route to the B bomb site, the small size of said bomb site (which makes it perhaps overly susceptible to molotovs), and the general feel and pace of the map:

Again, though, Canals is, in many ways, not a traditional CSGO map. Neither the quick nor stealthy CT routes to the B site fit a mould players are entirely used to, and the A site is more subtly awkward. There are also pathways in the canals themselves, making things even less straightforward.

Despite this, many players are still trying to analyse it through the lens of the maps they’re used to playing, the template shared by Dust2 and many others. That, say some, is the real problem — not the map itself, which actually holds a lot of potential, pending a round or two of fixes.

“Every map we have have the same basic layout model — with few changes — and people play those maps in a set way,” said a player named ced_piano. “It’s hard to adapt, but it can bring new strategic perspective. There are a lot of new things on this map, and I’m not looking for it to be just like the others. Maybe it’s not a good map, or maybe people don’t think outside the box yet. Time will tell, this is too soon, way too soon.”

Another player named TreeJib went into more detail. “This map is all about executes,” they wrote. “It’s not about retakes. If it was about retakes, A would have been less open and B wouldn’t be so wallbang-able. This map’s layout was absolutely designed to promote new gameplay at a high level.”

“If this ever makes it to active duty (following a year of fixes), deciding what side to start on, or whether or not to ban the map, is a critical choice. By putting this in active duty, they would be forcing top teams to learn the map properly, which could trickle down well. I think pro teams will eventually like this map, and I can see this being added to ESEA, as well. This map really does open the doors for serious changes to meta, in a good way.”

So, is Canals a resounding success, or a belly flop into what you’re expecting to be a refreshing pool of water, but then you crash into an angry man in a gondola? It’s too early to tell. Per usual, Valve says they’re listening to community feedback so they can “make improvements in the future.” All that’s certain right now is that Canals is different. In a game as entrenched in multi-layered metas (not to mention hyper-specific expectations) as CSGO, it’s important to shake things up sometimes. Maybe this’ll be the map to do it.


  • There are quite a fair few issues, but the ones that really matter to me are;
    -Walkways are too skinny (stops pushing through smoke)
    -The walls are too busy looking (not likely to always be an issue, but it might cause issues when things get hectic)

  • My first impression was that there were way too few mid-range engagements where the M4 and AK are most useful. You have a combination of lots of tight spaces where the lower skill short-range guns will have an advantage and a few extremely wide open areas that are very difficult to smoke and will be AWP heaven, but not a whole lot of spaces where standard rifle play is really viable.

    This is a problem for competitive because SMGs/shotguns are comparatively low skill and high luck weapons and because cutting the map apart with giant AWP corridors tends to slow down play and make the game less interesting. Maps that de-emphasise rifles to this extent don’t tend to be well liked at high level play for these reasons.

    In terms of the problem being that it’s being analysed through the lense of people who are used to clover-pattern maps, I don’t buy it. Things like “the CTs aren’t able to get into defensive positions before the Ts arrive” are problems regardless of the overall map layout. So much in CS is balanced around the CTs having a considerable defensive advantage (it’s why the M4 is a worse gun that costs more than the AK), and I think taking that away is going to generally make the game play worse regardless of other considerations about the map.

    I haven’t played it enough yet to have a fully formed opinion on whether or not it’s a bad map, and it’ll definitely change a fair bit over the next couple of months, but my initial impressions are pretty lukewarm.

  • Wait … people play maps other than Dust 2? I’m just a casual scrub, but I don’t think I’ve had a game yet that hasn’t simply been an endless cycle of Dust.

  • I quite like it, a few issues, timing is a little off for a few bits, quite a few jump points that give advantage., its definitely better as a casual deathmatch map at this stage but plays alright in bomb, biggest change i could see is moving CT spawn halfway between B or and A, A timings will be the same but B timings will be less of a cluster fuck.

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