VALORANT Map Pool Changes
Hey all. I’m Joe “Pearl Hogbash” Lansford, design lead on the Maps team. Let’s talk about map pools.
Last year, we were really excited to get to seven maps because it meant tournament best-of-5’s could have two map bans without any repeat picks. This year though, we’ll be at eight maps with the launch of Pearl in Episode 5. So what’s that mean for our map pool?
After working with our esports team, surveying players and talking to professional organizations we’ve decided to keep a 7 map pool and will be rotating Split out for now. If you’re interested in our thought process, read on.
- Split will exit the map pool in Competitive and Unrated queues, starting with Patch 5.0 (June 22)—no date set for its return
- Temporary 6-map pool until Pearl enters the Competitive queue on July 12 (Patch 5.01)
- Split will exit the map rotation at esports events after the LCQ’s in August
- Available in Spike Rush, custom games, and other game modes
- We believe it’s a good balance of variety and mastery for new and returning players
LUCKY NUMBER 7
Learning a new map can be one of the toughest parts of a tac shooter. Going from “learned” to “mastered” is even harder. Doing that on a whole bunch of maps is a steep learning curve. Not to mention all the combinations of Agents and utility. It’s a lot!
Simply put, too many maps to learn can feel overwhelming and doesn’t give some of you the opportunity to really go deep on any one of them.
The team thinks seven is a nice sweet spot that offers both variety and mastery. You don’t have to spend all your time learning new angles, lineups, and strategies. New players will have an easier onboarding experience. And pro teams get to have deeper, more exciting playbooks. Win, win, win.
“What about keeping all the maps in the unrated queue?”
We considered a few different solutions like this, but ultimately decided that keeping parity between all our map pools made the most sense. It can feel like wasted time when you’re playing a map you know you’ll never see in Competitive. And for all the Split lovers out there, it will still be in customs and alternate game modes.
For esports events, we are removing the map slightly later in the year. August’s Last Chance Qualifiers will be the last official tournaments that will utilize Split. We wanted to make sure that players had ample time to practice Pearl before integrating it into our official map pool for Champions.
We expect some of you to wish we chose another map, but we promise we are not picking on Split.
We looked at a bunch of different factors when making this decision. Player sentiment, time since release, past and future planned updates, what the map brings in terms of strategic variance, as well as where Pearl fits into all of it (to name a few).
When we plugged all those numbers into the magic algorithm machine, we landed on Split. We’re pretty sure it will be back sometime in the future though. Maybe even with some tweaks?