Ready, Dataset, CS:GO: Valve Track Balance Of New Maps

Naughty map is counter-terrorist.

Let’s imagine that my time here at RPS thus far can be split into The Wire-style themed television seasons. The first season was all about FIFA and Football Manager and foot-to-ball related things. This second season is all about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s not my fault; I just find it really interesting.

The latest post on the official CS: GO blog details how Valve record data about each new map they add to the game, comparing new additions Cobblestone and Overpass with other official maps.

Overpass is an entirely new map built by Valve, and this graph shows how balanced it is between the two teams.

Coo, graphs.

Terrorists win 50.6% of the time! That’s pretty equal.

Cobblestone is based on the old de_cbble, a map from the original Counter-Strike mod. Terrorists win a mere 43% of the time. Interesting! Also Aztec is only won by the Terrorists 35.1% of the time. What’s your deal, Aztec?

This graph, and the other through at the post, aren’t pulled out from the general population but from “the top four skill groups in competitive matchmaking”. In that competitive context, it makes sense to value balance between the two teams above all else. As a more casual player of Counter-Strike, I continue to enjoy maps that deliberately place one team at a disadvantage, because I enjoy the extra element of tension and reward introduced by being able to play as the underdog. Believe it or not, earlier versions of the Counter-Strike mod had an almost roleplaying-style element, encouraged by maps like cs_militia, cs_mansion, cs_assault and cs_siege, and the impression that one side was entrenched and the other was, well, screwed.

If this data is used to re-balance Cobblestone, to be fairer to both teams, it becomes a more valid setting for competitive play. But does it become more interesting or more fun, or simply more easily ignored?

The full post has another graph and a download link to the full dataset.


  1. Phinor says:

    I always considered the imbalance to be part of the game especially in competitive play (back when we were playing the original CS mod). Mastering (through tactics) the difficult side on a map was something to be proud of. But then what did I know, I also considered all official maps fair game for competitive play, while leagues and tournaments decided to restrict maps down to about four maps total. Killed the fun when you had de_dust in every damn match.

  2. BULArmy says:

    Ah Dust 2, is there anybody that has play FPSs and hadn’t played on dust 2? I hate it, now I see why. It is too balanced. As Graham, I like my game to have some flaw that I must overcompensate for. This is why I love Nuke, T are are at some disadvantage, because they can be picked easily from all entry points to the bomb sites. This begs for far more team cooperation and how you move on the map. CTs have problems defusing the bomb at B, because of some neat camp points.

    On the other hand aztec is pretty awful, because except for under the bridge you get to absurd choke points that makes the CT work far too easy. Two equally good/bad teams they can take it to something like 15 – 0 and when things change the same can happen. I had a game, where we led 14 – 1 and the game ended 16 – 14 for us.

    • Ysellian says:

      I agree, the way CS plays out there is really no need for both sides to be completely balanced.

    • nimbulan says:

      I hate dust2 because it’s boring and it’s played way too often. In the later days of CSS it was hard to find a server that didn’t play dust2 every other map, if not 24/7, at least in my area.

    • Cheradanine Zakalwe says:

      de_dust 2 is actually a t sided map in competitive games. Its easier for terrorists to control the middle, with the better elevation and more varied spots to control it from. They can easily fake (pretend to hit one location but go to another) because of how easy it is to bounce between sites and smokes can completely conceal certain areas.

      That’s not to say the cts don’t stand a chance. Its incredibly important to listen for footsteps and be ready to fast rotate and ‘shuffle’ down to the next position when you see/feel/hear action on a certain part of the map. If you have players in the right spot at the right time, you’re at a huge advantage because of how chokepointy the entry locations are. Making sure you always have the right players there is the tricky bit.

      Its my least favourite map to play in pubs, but is definitely one of the best for when you’re playing competitively.

  3. Sisco says:

    Oh my, I do remember cs_mansion very well. Had some of the best counter-strike times on there.
    The early betas left the guns lying on the ground upon death throughout the rounds, so we actually tuned up the roleplaying into incorporating the retrieval of the gun lost the round before. Such great memories.

  4. Tjee says:

    Custom weaponskins, rebalanced maps.
    I have a bad feeling about all the attention Valve is giving CS:GO lately.
    Last time they did that with a game, it went Free to play (Team Fortress 2).

    I still regret purchasing TF2. I feel they ruined that game and quite frankly I’m afraid they’ll do the same with CS:GO.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Don’t worry, there’s way too much money in CSGO (tournaments) to start doing anything without asking Important-Players if they won’t drop ship if something change.

    • conlon says:

      It hopefully never will. Cheating is such a big thing in Counter-Strike, if the game went free2play, cheaters would be EVERYWHERE.

  5. Hunchback says:

    Epic post title is epic…

  6. DrollRemark says:

    Oh, Aztec.

    I’m surprised Dust2 is so balanced, I always thought it was one of the few maps in CS where the attacking team had an advantage (more than 1%, anyway). Maybe it’s less pronounced in versions post-1.6.

    • ChromeBallz says:

      Dust2 is one of the best balanced and overall best designed levels in multiplayer history – The paths are excellently laid out and a lot of strategy is allowed for on both sides. This is one of the levels one should teach at level design school :)

  7. Krull says:

    Oh, is this the game where you pay for community maps ? Cool ! :)

    • Stupoider says:

      The money goes to the community map makers who made the maps.

      I think you’re only paying to play them on Valve servers anyway, you can still play them on community servers (I still prefer the normal server browser with community servers than the Valve matchmaking).

      • HothMonster says:

        Correct, they are no restrictions to what maps can be played on community servers or who can join those servers (unless of course the server owner restricts it). You pay to play those maps through Valve’s matchmaking and portion of proceeds go to the creators.

        • subedii says:

          Wait, does this mean that the game is no longer cool? I’m confused.

    • Text_Fish says:

      You say that as if it somehow negatively effects anyone anywhere. If that’s what you think, then I’m afraid you’re very poorly informed indeed Krull.

  8. klinkvonstal says:

    Before changing Aztec (yeah, even though I dont like this awp-fest map), I’d gladly see changes made to Lake. For instance I can run very fast in the lake and I’ve never achieved such a thing in reality link to

    • Lemming says:

      The thing that’s perplexing about Lake, is why there are spawn points in the lake at all. It’s ludicrous.

  9. SillyWizard says:

    I wish they’d spend less time on this nonsense (because balance in CSGO? Ha!) and spend more time on stuff like figuring out

    1) Why the game crashes between each match for a large number of users
    2) Why the game randomly crashes on newer maps for many users
    3) Why there are so many shitty servers on the competitive server list

    Grumble grumble grump!

  10. Lemming says:

    I tend to favour team-deathmatch mode, so map balance is pretty irrelevant for me. For some reason that still doesn’t stop people voting for de_dust2 round after around after round though. *sigh*.

  11. nimbulan says:

    The most interesting part about this graph is that aztec is still the least balanced map after the changes made in CSGO, and dust is very close to the second even with its changes. Apparently the changes didn’t actually accomplish much.