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Luci Kelemen
Written By: Luci Kelemen

Writes about way too many things. Has way too many opinions. Wants to tell all the interesting stories in the world.

May 18, 2019

We sort of expected that Cache would be the next competitive map to go because of creator FMPONE’s irregular tweets about an ongoing facelift. However, not many would have predicted that Vertigo would be its replacements, and so far it seems like the incredulous reactions to the announcement were borne out by the skirmishes we’ve seen so far in competitive play on the map. With fer calling it “worse than shit” and others joining suit in somewhat more PG-friendly terms, it’s safe to say the map got the worst reception out of any competitive one from the pros to date.

Vertigo’s always been one of those non-traditional meme-y maps with players regularly plummeting to their deaths from the top floor or working with mega-boosts from the lower one up on older versions of it. Narrow corridors and rough edges, with almost all action taking place on the upper deck under normal circumstances, a fact that seems to render half of the map useless. A new and revamped version was added to the game a few months ago, and it did seem like the most polished version of Vertigo to date, but it still felt like a Canals-esque noisy oddity that would only see the occasional play on deathmatch servers.

And suddenly, it was thrust onto the esports scene.

There’s a fairly long period of adaptation with every new map, and even the reintroduction of old stalwarts like Inferno or Dust 2 took a while until certain pro teams turned them into their home map. The “new” Nuke’s long stay in the purgatory of perma-bans is also well-documented: it feels like Vertigo could very well end up in a similar position, especially if you consider how it’s perhaps the first map in the competitive map pool to be this actively disliked by the players.

Here’s fer calling it “worse than shit”:

OpTic’s MSL voiced similar thoughts, though in less incendiary terms:

We’ve seen these problems elsewhere in the past and they ended up completely crippling a map: just like how Valve couldn’t figure out a way to create manageable CT holds on rotations on Cobblestone despite multiple reworks made to the castle and its surroundings, it feels like something similar is developing in the early Vertigo meta. It’s ludicrously difficult to hold onto a bombsite when it gets hit – and by a bombsite, I mean “A bombsite”, the one where most of the action seems to end up at.

Vitality’s apEX hammered the point home with an amusing tweet of his own:

There’s a good argument to be made that most maps with vertical elements don’t lend themselves well to competitive play. Nuke’s always been extremely unbalanced, Cobblestone was rotated out and maps like Assault never even got a chance on the big stage. Even Overpass took a very long time to get right, and it’s the one where the verticality plays the smallest part overall: apart from B site itself, every other contact point is on the upper portion of the map, and unlike with Vertigo, eventual retakes can be approached from three to four different angles and heights on both bombsites.

Can the unfinished skyscraper be salvaged? So far, it’s not looking good, but the developers are to be commended for the rigorous update schedule and the constant tweaks to its current, clearly sub-optimal state. One thing is for sure: if it fails, it won’t be due to a lack of trying on Valve’s part.