It’s finally here–after a long drought following the disastrous Winter Update, Valve has released a massive update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In addition to the usual collection of bugs that accompany an update, Valve also included Operation Wildfire, a new weapon skin case, several new co-operative game modes, and, most importantly, an entirely revamped version of the classic Counter-Strike map de_nuke.
Was it worth the wait?
The old version of Nuke is, hands down, my favorite CS:GO map. Yes, it was CT-sided.But hey, cry me a river, buddy, ’cause that map was Valve’s gift to us. At the highest level of professional play, the map was a grueling boxing match–when played correctly by the CTs, it was not unusual to see 14 – 1 or 13 – 2 scorelines at halftime. It was the comeback map. You only got two rounds on T side? Didn’t matter–lock down that CT pistol and you’ve got a difficult (but very doable) road to 16 rounds. Remember Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Virtus.pro on Nuke at DreamHack Winter 2014? One of the best games of all time. ALL. TIME.
At any rate, the first thing you’ll notice about new Nuke (Newke) is that it’s bright. Very bright. If you ever went to a high school dance, imagine that moment when the assistant principal turns on the overhead lights in the gym because people are dancing too close–it’s that bright.
It’s clear that Valve listened to feedback about the map, and seems to have directed most of their attention towards finding new ways for the Terrorist side to take control of the map. I’ll be honest, I’ve only had time to play a couple games on it so far, so I still haven’t made up my mind. I’ll do an in-depth look at Newke soon, but for now, I’m impressed with the visual polish and visibility improvements–as far as “balance” goes, we’re dealing mostly in theoreticals for now.
For now, I have only one bone to pick with Newke. They’ve removed the skill-based jump onto Silo–what was once one of the hardest jumps on an active duty map has become incredibly easy, even for those with atrocious hand-eye coordination. (In other words, me.) I’m also not happy about the invisible wall that separates the rafters on A site, just because invisible walls frustrate me. Also, I spent 20 minutes trying to air strafe past it before I learned that it’s impossible, so I’m a little bit salty about being an idiot.
As we saw with Valve’s gentle rollout of new Train, Newke is being introduced through an operation, where it will likely remain until the developers decide to replace one of the current active duty maps with it. The question remains, however: which map will Valve remove? Or will they add an entirely new map?
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It’s honestly been so long since that last operation that Valve could’ve released anything and I’d be excited about it. That being said, I’m impressed with the structure of Operation Wildfire–if you’re willing to shell out the $5.99 for the Operation Wildfire Access Pass, you gain access to a variety of missions, game modes, as well as exclusive weekly skin drops. The community-made maps can be played without an Access Pass, however, so it’s not necessary to dip into your Steam Wallet if you don’t want to.
Valve has also introduced “Blitz” events in a move to encourage more players to queue for the seven different community maps that are included in Operation Wildfire–three times a day, players can complete missions (usually requiring them to score a certain amount of round wins on a particular map) for an additional XP. However, these are only available within certain time windows. Once a Blitz is over, you’ll have to wait until the next one five hours later to get your hands on that precious, precious experience. It’s a neat idea, and I’m excited for shorter queue times on the community maps. Since I’ve promised myself that I’m actually going to play the new maps in Operation Wildfire instead of trying them once and vowing to never return, I’m excited for the shorter queue times that “Blitzes” will cause.
As for me, I’m going to go enjoy the update. These missions aren’t going to complete themselves.