If we were to revisit October of 2015, it would be during the time of probably my favorite Counter-Strike Global Offensive operation to date: Operation Bloodhound. This was back in a time where the operations would have you carve through a map of task to earn points or stars to level of the pretentiousness of your display coin for that operation. Most importantly however, it held the deepest map pool of any operation featuring workshop maps. Hostage map favorite cs_Agency gained a ton of popularity at this time, and other defusal maps such as de_Log, de_Rails, and de_Resort were fun casual maps to mess around on while trying to complete the challenges. There were two maps that I would argue were the best from this pool though, de_Season & de_Zoo. I’m happy to report de_Zoo is back, and I can’t wait to go on a few field trips with you all while playing casually. However, we unfortunately still don’t see de_Season in the competitive map pool.
Marksman & Revolution Maps
Let’s talk about Abbey, why am I excited for this map? Well, it’s really a breath of fresh air. We need more maps in Counter-Strike. Here’s the thing people aren’t really considering; before Global Offensive, we couldn’t rely on Valve’s match making system, this is including finding casual games. Now we do, it’s a simple click and connect without any of your precious time browsing server listings with your desired filters. So no more power hungry admins, awkwardly conservative Christians only servers, etc.. We left it in Valve’s hand to determine our next game playing experience. Well, this means we’re playing the same ol’ maps over and over again. I recall in Counter-Strike Source, the map choices felt endless thanks to websites like GameBanana which felt like the mecca of Counter-Strike creativity. Man, I sure do miss those days… So my point here is, back then you would browse for a server to play on, which often would have different map rotations than another server you may play on. Although, of course, there were 24/7 cs_office servers, or fy_iceworld servers. But it was complete your choice. Now? Now you let Valve tell you what can and can’t be a 24/7 servers(Dust2), and Valve dictates what is competitive for you. I wouldn’t mind this so much, if there was a larger variety to pick from. In Valve’s defense, there is the Workshop, and Community Servers. However, the Workshop is overran by skins for weapons and gloves, while the Community Servers aren’t easily accessible unless you’re really looking for them.
Thanks for sticking around for that rant, now let’s talk about the map Abbey actually in the game. Visually, it’s pleasing. It’s got the characteristic of a rustic vineyard. Every time I’m launching the map, it honestly makes me feel like I should be pouring myself a glass of wine. We have Lizard & thewhaleman for de_Abbey which can be found on the Workshop.
Let’s dive into the competitive aspects of Abbey, it’s as balanced as you’d expect a modern day Counter-Strike map. The Counter Terrorist have ample time to setup on both A site & B site, as well as setting up in middle. The Terrorist have areas to plan executions and nades without over exposure of their own positioning. This is good, it allows Terrorist to properly execute fakes, and forces CT’s into communicating well to properly defend against a plant. Rotations by CT’s from one site to another; originally I wasn’t a fan of this because I felt like it’s a bit too long, while I still feel it’s too long to rotate, it’s not as bad as I had thought originally. If the CT’s play passive enough, this is really a non-issue as they have ample space to retreat for a full retake on both sites. If I had any gripes with the map, it would be mid needs a little reworking, along with each site’s Long paths. The long path to B site as a Terrorist is pretty boring, and there’s really nothing you can do as the skybox blocks any nades that would be useful. The same can be said for the long path going to A site. As for middle, there’s really not much you can do as a Terrorist to gain control other than getting lucky. And by luckily, I’m referring to the Terrorist smoking the correct area of mid where a Counter Terrorist is posted up. And if you do guess correctly, chances are the CT’s will rotate someone from the site to peek from another angle of mid. There’s just not enough reward as a T to take mid, as CT’s can quickly rotate and make an impact before the T’s can really take any meaningful control.
So competitively, Abbey is looking very promising. How about in a more casual setting? It’s still a very fun map to play, and I can’t quite put my finger on it but it somewhat reminds me of de_Santorini. I really hope de_Abbey stays around for a while, and gets improved over time to grow into a regular map in the competitive rotation.