VALORANT’s newest map, Fracture, has divided professional players. While Fracture has yet to hit the VALORANT Champions Tour competitive map pool, meaning most pro teams haven’t given it a go around in practice matches, most have played the map casually or in 10-man, pro lobbies.
The common consensus, among some, is that the map, with its unique gimmick of defenders spawning in the middle and the defenders on the periphery, feels like a Call of Duty map. Others find the comparison exciting, others think its more of an insult.
“I’ve played Call of Duty esports, Counter Strike esports and now VALOARNT,” Kiana “KP” Lytle said in a press conference ahead of VCT Game Changers Series III. “And it’s unlike anything I’ve ever played in a first person shooter.”
Fracture’s uniqueness shone through on the day Riot first revealed the map. The attackers have the ability to split a hit on a bomb site instantly every round and the defenders are put on the backfoot if they don’t move fast. Fracture is also the first map to have four ultimate orbs up for grabs, which adds another layer of strategical depth, as teams can fight over more resources (as opposed to the other maps which only have two orbs).
“What’s unique about it is just the way you can take any portion of the map at any given time, because there’s so much on the map,” KP said. “That map is probably built for six or seven players, but there’s only five. So at any moment, it kind of opens it up for someone to make a play, someone to be the hero, someone to make something exciting happen. I think it just reminds me of fast paced Call of Duty.”
But for players who are transitioning from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the new gimmick may be hard to get used to. While every map has had it’s own unique twist (Bind’s teleporter or Haven’s three bomb sites), they still have the feel of a tactical FPS map. TSM Female’s Catherine “cath” Leroux said she is excited to tool around with the new VALORANT location, even if she has some hesitations.
“For me, I feel like my brain won’t be able to wrap around the concept of Fracture,” cath said. “Being able to split a site right away, like taking the ropes and splitting A or B right off the bat. I played CS:GO for like 15 years before VALORANT, so the new concept might be a little difficult for my brain.”
According to Gen.G Black’s Lynn Clarke, the map looks fun for casual play, but she thinks pro teams will struggle to bring it into their map pools for a time. She explained that the map feels “unpredictable” on occasion, with timings and scenarios that teams have not had to adjust to before.
“I think it’s a good map, it feels like a Call of Duty map, it doesn’t feel like a a VALORANT map or a Counter-Strike map,” Lynn said. “It just feels like something that you kind of pug it out on.”
The pace of the map is also different, as teams will have a tough time defaulting and hunting for information on where the enemy team has stacked their players. Fracture will have a more fast-paced style and may see more five-player site hits, according to Gen.G Black’s Lee Lee “leelee” McNeil.
As for compositions, no one had a read on how the meta could shake out. KP said the map will force teams to create their own compositions, as playmaking is important, and added that she doesn’t see a consistent meta forming. For Gen.G Black’s coach, Jackson “Jaxsen” Popelka, he said fans may see some lesser picked agents on the new map.
“I know there’s a few different agents that we haven’t seen, like Breach, that’s been talked about,” Jaxsen said.
But some pros are less convinced about the map’s viability in general, saying its awkwardness is a major put off. However, all conceded that, as time moves on, their opinions will likely change as they dissect Fracture and see it played competitively themselves, just like VALORANT’s other then-new maps Breeze and Icebox.
“It needs a lot of rework I think,” recent XSET signee Carolyn “ArtstaR” Noquez said. “It kind of felt like Riot just threw something out there, maybe to just have something different in the map pool but I don’t know.”