Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the OG when it comes to shooters. It’s a game that’s simple in concept but quite complex when it comes to strategy and skill — easy to play but difficult to master. For this reason, CS:GO has become an iconic esport that has inspired many other games in the FPS genre, including Riot Games’ VALORANT.
But has VALORANT perfected the model that CS:GO created?
CS:GO as we know it came out back in 2012, popularising the concept of two gun-wielding teams fighting for control of a certain spot on an expertly designed map. It also popularised the buy phase and many other FPS staples, most of which VALORANT also uses.
But one thing that VALORANT added is unique agents. Unlike the classic Terrorist vs. Counter-Terrorist angle of CS:GO, VALORANT has a mysterious backstory with colourful agents, all with their own abilities. These added abilities have caused developers to come up with different maps for VALORANT, but the two are still often compared.
When VALORANT first came out, FPS players complained about the simplicity of the maps when compared to CS:GO’s classic locations. CS:GO has been respected for over a decade thanks to the seemingly perfectly designed maps, which allow for various strategies and feature a mix of hallways, enclosed spaces, and open areas.
CS:GO fans initially disliked VALORANT’s maps, often saying they were much too simple. There was a lack of varying angles to keep track of on each map, making most strategies and interactions straight-forward and predictable. But FPS players soon realized that the simplicity may have been just what the genre needed.
CS:GO vs. VALORANT: Which maps are more balanced?
At Abios, we track the statistics and data of esports tournaments, meaning we have a database full of every match’s outcome. This has allowed us to look closely at the balance when it comes to FPS games like VALORANT and CS:GO. And when it comes to pro play, we can confidently say that VALORANT is a lot more balanced in terms of maps.
Over on the CS:GO side, you will often have an advantage depending if you are defending or attacking certain maps. A quick look shows that Inferno is quite balanced (CT won 51% of the time versus T’s 49%) but that all of the maps are currently favoured by the CT side.
In comparison, VALORANT has a lot closer percentages of wins and losses between defenders and attackers on most maps. Fracture and Bind are particularly balanced, with defenders winning 50% of matches and attackers winning 50%. The only map with a considerable difference is Pearl. It is very new in the competitive match pool though, which means that we don’t have enough data to provide a certain assessment.
While VALORANT’s maps are not perfectly balanced, they are still more evenly balanced than most of CS:GO’s maps. This is most likely due to the previously criticised simplicity of the maps, which allows for all agents and strategies to shine on most maps with the right practice and teamwork.
In conclusion, VALORANT maps are more balanced than CS:GO maps.